Flourish like a palm tree

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;” (Psalm 92:12)

I’ve been thinking about this verse lately: flourish like a palm tree. It’s a funny comparison. When I think of flourishing, I usually think of big flowering bushes or a tall and lush tree or a plant heavy with fruit. Palm trees are pretty stark, even when they are flourishing. But because we have a flourishing palm tree in the front yard, I’ve taken some time lately to consider the truth of that analogy.

A flourishing palm still needs regular trimming.

Branches die on a palm at regular intervals, even in perfect health. We also need to continue to care for ourselves, and yes, parts will die or need to be trimmed away, even (or especially) if we’re growing as intended.

A flourishing palm matures slowly.

It would be more exciting to watch grass grow. Palms grow tall in stature, but at a very slow and steady rate. We too may be flourishing, but our growth is still going to be measured out.

A flourishing palm bears seeds.

I know because I am constantly cursing them–we have small rocks underneath our palm, and there’s no good way to separate the seeds from the rocks. But that’s also important: a flourishing palm (or Christian) will be bearing seeds, and they should probably be just as hard to get rid of.

A flourishing palm grows from the inside out.

One of the most beautiful parts of a palm’s growth are the new fronds, which stretch straight from the center of the plant and then unfold until they can fan out. If we are flourishing, our growth will come from the very center of our heart, where Christ is doing His most important work. A healthy heart means new growth can come forth.

This post has very little to do with anything, except that I had trouble making much of that analogy in the past, given the simplicity of the palm tree. But when I really thought about it, it was amazing to see what God was offering us, even in a simple verse. And I look at palm trees with a sense of appreciation now, seeing what I hope we share in common.

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