When Storms Hit, Be Like the Palm Tree

March 28, 2018

Categories: Resilience

I remember listening to Joel Osteen give a talk a couple years ago, and he shared an idea that has always stuck with me.

Walking Through Difficulty and Struggle

He was talking about how to walk through difficulties and struggles. I know there are times when I struggle and feel far away from God. I might question God, wondering why a certain bad thing happened. For example, a few years ago my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I felt angry and scared. My dad was healthy and had always taken care of himself physically. And yet the cancer still came. It didn’t feel fair.

In This World You Will Have Trouble

It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t promise the circumstances of our lives will always be great. In fact, in the Gospel of John, Jesus says in this world you will have trouble (John 16:33). We can count on it. It’s impossible to get through life unscathed.

What Does God Promise?

But God does promise to be with us in the midst of our trouble. Psalm 46 says that God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Paul writes in 2 Corinthians that God comforts us in all our troubles (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Be Like the Palm Tree

Psalm 92 says that the righteous will flourish like a palm tree (Psalm 92:12). In his talk, Joel described a time he visited a community in the aftermath of a hurricane. Many houses were destroyed. Several trees were uprooted and broken to pieces. But he noticed the palm trees were still standing.

He asked someone how the palm trees survived the storm. A person told him that palm trees are designed to bend. When the storms come, palm trees can bend quite a lot, even to the point of being horizontal to the ground. But they don’t break.

During the storm, you might look at the palm tree flattened against the ground and think it’s a goner. But when the storm dies down, the palm tree is able to stand upright again.

Also, scientists have found when the storm is over and the palm tree stands upright again, the palm tree is actually stronger than it was before the storm. It comes back from the storm better and stronger than ever.

God Isn’t Done With You Yet

What a beautiful metaphor for how God made us. We live in a world where storms hit. Sometimes the storms are impossible to avoid. Sometimes the storms are difficult to explain. But God made us like the palm tree, able to withstand even the most difficult storms. If you’re alive, it means that God isn’t done with you yet. And when the storm is over, we are able to recover and stand upright again, even stronger than before.

Discussion: How do you make sense of the storms of your life? Have you experienced the “bend but not break” aspect of what it means to be human? How have you experienced growth following a storm?

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  1. John October 29, 2014 at 9:03 pm - Reply

    Wow…this blog post was timely. Last night I felt like the hurricane winds started to blow. I’ve been sitting in the storm, letting the winds blow, not happy about it, but choosing not to run away or let the wind break the tree.
    I’m not getting WHY, and there is a big part of me that really wants to say, “God this makes NO SENSE AT ALL” but I know enough that to ask God WHY is pretty silly and not all that helpful.
    Honestly, I’m trying to hold my hands out and TRUST this “no-fun-storm” right now.

    • Imti March 11, 2019 at 10:34 am - Reply

      Wao….nice article.
      I really like it.

  2. Joshua Hook November 2, 2014 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing John. It’s tough when it ‘doesn’t make sense’ or we can’t ‘figure it out.’ Praying for strength and perseverance as you ‘wait it out.’

  3. Anon January 10, 2016 at 4:44 am - Reply

    You forgot to add the verse. May want to update it with this:

    Psalm 92:12

    The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

  4. […] of us aren’t like this. When the storms of life hit, we react emotionally to what happened. We feel the need to do something or respond immediately to […]

  5. Kristina Jobst March 10, 2019 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    Jesus has perfect timing when He wants me to hear him and be touched by His word and His love.
    I’ve been going through tough storms lately, but He has remained faithful and has not left me and He has protected me from the enemy. My Husband and I watched the sunset at the beach in Florida and as we were walking back to our car I noticed a palm tree that was bent severely! I said wow babe look at that tree, he said did you know that the palm tree is the only tree that wont break during a hurricane. My mind immediately drew the comparison of how I have not broken despite the storms in my life. Palm trees have always been my favorite type of tree because they are so beautiful. I dont think anything that God plans is a coincidence and I believe He wanted me to see this and I believe He placed the love of palm trees in my heart for this purpose! I love you Lord.
    Thanks for posting brother and may God bless you!

  6. Joshua Hook March 11, 2019 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing and for the encouragement Kristina!

  7. […] back at the first sign of difficulty and adversity. We struggle to “stick with it” when the storms of life begin to blow. We fail to understand that trouble and adversity are par for the course. If we want to be […]

  8. […] speaker who does a great job of making one main point is Joel Osteen. Sometimes I turn on the television and listen to Osteen as I get ready for church. He always […]

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