Bouncing Back

Gwen Smith Blog 7 Comments

There’s an abundance of palm trees in Israel. I’m not sure why that surprised me as we traveled throughout the Holy Land, but it did. Not only was I blown away by the populous palm presence, but I was also blown away that palm trees don’t just produce coconuts! Did you know this? There’s actually a type of palm that produces dates.

What? Yep. Date palms are all over Israel. Farm after farm of them. And here, my whole life I just gave palm trees coconut creds.

Silly, Gwen.

I learned a few other interesting insights about palms on the day we visited Magdala, an ancient city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, near the small, present day Israeli town of Migdal. Known as the hometown of Mary Magdalene, Magdala is filled with archeological ruins, including a first-century synagogue that biblical scholars are confident is a place where Jesus taught and visited.

As we stood near the archives of the Migdal Synagogue, our guide discussed some amazing characteristics of palm trees. She explained that palm trees can bend 180 degrees and then bounce back up to standing. They stand tall and live long. They’re able to withstand high winds, are resilient in resistance and can bend low without breaking. This, she explained, is why the Bible talks of the righteous being like palms.

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalm 92:12-15

Psalm 92 is an inspiring call to worship that causes my heart to want greater doses of righteousness in my life.

What would it look like for us to flourish like a palm tree?

Here a few ways this might play out…

It could look like a contrite heart bouncing back up to its standing in grace after being bent 180 degrees low in rebellion.

It could look like standing tall in the dignity and purity of Christ by choosing to say nothing instead of something when tempted to gossip.

It could look like soul-resilience. Like being able to withstand the high winds of heart-wounds or health-bending diagnoses in the strength of God, without breaking.

Let’s go! I want to flourish like a palm tree and live tall with resilience and strength. I want God’s love to be so deeply rooted in my heart that I thrive no matter what challenge I face. Don’t you?

We can flourish despite resistance because the power of Christ is at work within us, giving us everything we need to bounce back and thrive in righteousness.

 

Most High and Holy Lord, thank You for greeting me with love and faithfulness every morning and night. Help me to bend, not break, in the winds of all I’ve got happening with my life, heart and home right now. Please give me a fresh strength and vitality today to walk in Your ways and thrive in Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

What has you close to breaking right now? What would it look like for you to withstand high winds with resilience today? What are your biggest personal takeaways from this message?

Let’s pray together today. Meet us in the comments section to share your heart and pray for one another.

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Comments 7

  1. Gwen, I love your articles you post. I need to take time to read them more. My manager quit last week.
    I’m the only one left in my department which means lots more work. There’s not much time for anything else. The last two nights, I’ve had problems sleeping. I’ve had my job a little over 7 months now. The people are friendly which is nice, I just have too much work now.
    Also, my Dad is 84 and is having some health issues. So, I have been going their for appointments and such.

    At times, I wonder how much I can take until I can no longer stand. I try to get into my Bible app everyday. I’m in a discipleship class but really don’t have the appropriate time to prepare for the class.
    Thank you for your wisdom and knowledge to help us out.

    May God Bless you and your family!

  2. Gwen, I love your articles you post. I need to take time to read them more. My manager quit last week.
    I’m now the only one left in my department. So I have lots more work and trying to do my job and the additional duties I got from my old manager. There’s not much time for anything else. The last two nights, I’ve had problems sleeping. I’ve had my job a little over 7 months now. The people are friendly which is nice, I just have too much work now.
    Also, my Dad is 84 and is having some health issues. So, I have been going their for appointments and such.

    At times, I wonder how much I can take until I can no longer stand. I try to get into my Bible app everyday. I’m in a discipleship class but really don’t have the appropriate time to prepare for the class.
    Thank you for your wisdom and knowledge to help us out.

    May God Bless you and your family!

  3. Gwen, I like you, was surprised by the palm trees in Israel! Now it makes sense why there are always palm trees in nativity scenes (:
    I will always treasure the sights of the palms that I got to see on my trip to Israel and the mention of Magdala brings back beautiful memories!
    Praying for all of the women reading the strength and resiliency of a palm tree!

  4. Dear Gwen – I look forward to each one of your posts and love to share with my family
    and bible study group as everyone has their struggles. My sister has just been diagnosed
    with Breast cancer and need prayer warriors for her. Her name is Jana and we have a long history of breast cancer going back to my grandfather. So of course we all fear this and I need to be a palm tree for her as my mom passed away a year ago. God grant me a loving, giving spirit to be with her for support, she lost her husband to liver cancer in December so this is especially a difficult time.

    1. Praying for Jana and for you, Karen. May God’s peace and strength be over you and your family as you all navigate this difficult time 🙏💗

  5. Dearest Gwen–thank you for this devotional on bouncing back. I have had chronic fatigue syndrome for 32 years. Recently I have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. The medications for this cause EXTREME FATIGUE!! I have really been feeling it and like one of the palm trees am bent very low to the point where I struggle to get up again. Please pray that I will TRUST the Lord to bring me out of this so I can serve Him in some way–a difficult thing to envision since I “feel” like my usefulness is almost gone.

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