I love dates. They’re extremely yummy, sweet fruits, and very nutritious as well. The date palm is a staple in the Middle East; they are one of the few trees that grow in the deserts where the water level is very low, their long roots enable them to dig deep to absorb water. It takes 4 to 8 years for the palms to bear fruits after planting. I always looked forward to buying dates from Dubai, and I was so excited when I realized I could get them in Nigeria as well, especially in the Northern part of the country. The next mallam pushing his wheel barrow just may be carrying dabino, as it's called in Hausa. Dried dates are more popular in these parts.
I’m drawn to the life of a date palm, and not just because of the sweetness it gives me… In a dry land it flourishes!!! In a dry land, it doesn’t wither and die thinking “there’s no water here, what’s the point?” Rather, it digs deep to find it’s source… water, and it buries itself in this source to sustain it. And it grows, it keeps growing. It doesn’t take just a year or two to produce fruit; it takes four to eight years. Enough time to give up in frustration, but it still stands tall and after that much patience, it produces extremely sweet and healthy fruit that can be enjoyed ripe and dried out and in every way.
Maybe you’ve found yourself in a dry land, maybe things seem hopeless and you look at all that desert sand and hot sun. Maybe it looks impossible, but you can always find God in every hopeless situation, dig deep through the confusion of your dry land find your trust in Him, hold on to Him as your one and only source, find Him in your despair and let your roots sink into Him, that the storms wouldn’t shake you or uproot you when they come, and though the sun scorches harder, you hold on tighter, trusting and waiting on Him even when it feels like there’s a delay. The deeper you dig your roots in, the taller and stronger you grow, ready to face the elements head on.
"Whenever God wants to do the miraculous in our lives, He invites adversity to do its work to bring us closer to Him." J.E Sturdivant @jesturdivant
Remember the date palm takes years before it eventually produces its fruit, and when it does, it’s a succulent sweet thing that people desire, nutritious as well as pleasurable to eat. The fact that it looks bare in the years before it bears fruit doesn’t mean it’s useless or hopeless thus you don’t cut it down, so don’t cut yourself down because it feels like you haven’t produced anything of worth and it’s been a few years in this dry land, look and see how much you've grown, and trust that it's only a matter of time before your growth begins to produce fruit…
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
The process produces character in us… and it gives us hope, and our hope will not be put to shame… because we’ll yield the sweet fruit after the process. I love this bit in Demon Screw tape’s letters to his nephew Wormwood in the C.S Lewis 'screw tape letters' “He relies on the troughs even more than the peaks; some of His special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone elses”
You feel like your desert experience is too long? Well God’s personal favorites go through longer troughs than others… because He wants us to dig deeper in the hopeless situation and be deeply rooted in Him before He lifts us up, to be the towering green shade in the desert.
Don’t allow trials to trouble you. Paul shows us God uses them for His glory… not our glory, but HIS glory. They perfect us but serve His purpose. Tera Carissa Hodges @teracarissa
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree…” Psalms 92:12 Hold on to God and you will flourish like the palm tree even in the dry places of your life, even in the place that the world marks as a hopeless place, hold on to Him even when it feels like He’s taking too long… hold on and flourish like the date palm, bringing forth fruit in due season for the world around you, for nations to come running to you to draw from the sweetness of your career, your marriage, your children, your ministry, your business, your finances, your walk with God, whatever it is you're struggling with now.