Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

The Fern and the Bamboo


A classic that I like to post on Beyond Blue every now and then …

One day I decided to quit…I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality…. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”

His answer surprised me.

“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”


“Yes”, I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

“In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

“In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year four.

“Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.

Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant.

But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall.


It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.

“Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.

“Don’t compare yourself to others.” He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.

“Your time will come”, God said to me. “You will rise high.”

“How high should I rise?” I asked.

“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.

“As high as it can?” I questioned.

“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you.

Never regret a day in your life.

Good days give you happiness; bad days give you experiences; both are essential to life.

–Author Unknown

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Deb (OLD FLY GIRL)

    Good Morning, Therese! I’m hoping your feeling better.
    Thank you for this beautiful analogy to spiritual growth! All God does is good, even when it seems harmful, and it is painful. His wisdom far surpasses ours. His ways are far above ours. So, many days we don’t understand what He’s doing in our lives! But, yes, He grows deep roots into our lives to strengthen us; it’s a mysterious and painful process at times. During these times we can feel as though He has abandoned us! I haven’t read such an apt picture of that process before, although I have experienced it! It’s not fun! But I think you may know too that it’s worth it!

    I pray this post helps many who read & reflect upon it today. God says in the book of Hebrews in the Biible “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. His promises are always ‘yes’ and ‘amen’!

    Have a blessed day all! May God’s abundant grace sustain you and bring you joy as you trust Him to do right by you, even when you don’t feel Him near.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marc

    I have always resisted the idea that “God never gives us more than we can handle.” As a professor of political science I believe that God may not but humans often do. But this wonderful story points to a fundamental truth that is different than the cliche I have resisted. It tells us that each of us has a unique nature and that at a spiritual level there are always seeds growing inside us. It is what we choose to do that matters. We can’t always control what others will do to us–we can be at the wrong place and the wrong time–but we can have some control over how we view ourselves and others, as hard as that can be.
    Thanks, Therese

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Shamrock

    Thanks Therese, for giving us once more the
    story of the fern and bamboo so we don’t forget its important lessons. My grandchildren are old enough now to share in the lessons of this classic. God bless you and me that we might not only remember the lessons here but share them with you have done over and over.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Anne S.

    Reading this story was a great way to start the day. Thanks for your quality gifts!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Theresa

    Dear Therese,

    Thank you for posting this classic. This is a great way of looking at life. I needed it to start this morning.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Donna

    That story couldn’t have reached me at a more appropriate time. It really hit home. The only difference is, I’m not in a forest, I’m in a hospital bed home recovering from complications from gall bladder surgery that was done in Dec. Long story.

  • Melissa

    Thank you so much. I am in my bed crying. I turned on my laptop with angry thoughts of quitting. Now I know, I almost quit on the 2 bamboos that God has asked me to love and pray for. It has been about 5 years, maybe something will sprout soon. Thank you.

  • Pingback: No Comparison | rootleafandflower

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment KC

    Does any body know who worte this amazing story?

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