Withstanding High Winds of Resistance

Gwen Smith Blog, Devotions, Prayer, Sorrow, Strength, Trials, Trusting God 45 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, I was blown away that palm trees don’t just produce coconuts! Did you know this? There’s actually a type of palm that produces dates too.

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 have the ability to bend 180 degrees and then bounce back up to standing. They stand tall and live long. They are able to withstand high winds, are resilient in resistance and are able to 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.

I paused to reflect on what it would look like for me to flourish like a palm tree. And I came up with a few ways this might play out.

It could look like a contrite heart bouncing back up to it’s 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.

Sign me up!

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.

I can because of the power of Christ is at work within me. You can too.

 

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 for each other on the wall of my blog today.

Hope your day is filled with the courage and grace of Jesus,
GWEN


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Comments 45

  1. My adult children’s choices have me reeling right now. The choices they are making hurt me to the core. I covet prayers for renewed strength to walk in God’s ways and believe He’s got this!

  2. I think over this last month- I have bent, stood up, bent again, repeat. Over and over and over. I’m tired Lord- so very tired.
    I cannot control others behaviors and decisions….I must learn to SURRENDER this to Him- I’m such a control freak. 🙁
    I’m terrified that my daughters just don’t want to do it my way. HA! I know God has only entrusted them to me while here on Earth and he has their lives planned out (not me) but the decisions they make! OYE! They are seriously going to put me in a Loony bin.
    Most of all inside- I’m just sad- For so many reasons- and the area that this has hurt the most- My time with God. My study of his promises (word) daily. My prayer time. I just need to make time, and remember to “keep coming back”.

    1. I also struggle with wanting to control other’s behaviors when they’re making poor decisions. Praying for you.

  3. Gwen, thank you for your message. I need to be strong, but I’m so tired and in so much pain that I just want to stay in bed all of the time. It hurts to move and it’s hard to get around to do things in my wheelchair. I can’t fall asleep easily, and what sleep I do get is cut short by nightmares of anxiety and PTSD. I know God loves me and Jesus died for me, but I have nothing to offer Him back.

  4. Father please forgive me when I bend to the temptation to be disrespectful to my sweet husband. Thank you for your grace and strength that helps me to repent and stand tall again. I love you

  5. I need strength to deal with a 30-year old son who is having trouble finding his way in life. He’s dealt with prescription pain pill addiction. He’s very quiet and keeps to himself, leaving is not knowing what’s going on. He’s also a nonbeliever after growing up in a church. My heart hurts for him.

  6. I am also a grace-filled palm tree. My 20-year old son died in a tragic accident about six years ago, while away at college. My life was completely destroyed, my career down the toilet (I am a teacher) and my marriage ruined.
    BUT GOD….in HIS mercy and goodness has restored both my marriage and my career. It has been a very long, treacherous road of healing and restoration, and I know it was the Lord’s strength that has carried me through this Valley of Shadow. My husband and I were reunited just a month ago, and yesterday I was offered a 6th grade teaching position…after not working since my son’s death. Thank you Lord, my Yeshua who never leaves.💜

  7. Thank you so much for your message and encouragement this morning. When I heard you speaking about palm trees and their resilience I knew God was speaking straight to my heart. My daughter and her son Christian have been battling Lyme disease. Yesterday we found out our 16 year old grandson is really struggling with his Lyme and a co-infection. His liver is not doing well. This is a huge Storm we are facing and your message went straight to the “root” of Jesus love deep inside me. I would so appreciate your prayers over Christian and our family. Thanks Gwen. ❤️

  8. My husband broke his leg on February 27. He was non weight bearing for over 8 weeks. He is able to get around some now but his recovery is going so slow. He has zero patience and I am struggling with trying to keep up his morale and help him to believe that he will get much better and is getting better every day

  9. I feel like a drying palm but still I trust that God is working behind the scenes on our behalf and fighting for us. My husband was an VP in a company and was let go with no cause. There were 4 VPs and one of them became the CEO and the first thing he did was fire my husband “ with no cause” . We were so confident that it wouldn’t be long before he got another job and we moved on but it is now 9 months and nothing yet and of course Covid 19 is not helping matters but we still know that He is still on the throne . Yes, we know He is well able to still be the Eph 3:20 God that we believe but sometimes we feel drained of energy realize that we know not what to do but our eyes are on Him ( like King Jehoshaphat). Then there is a fear factor now with acts of injustice in the form of racism that have kinda caused me to feel nervous of even taking walks in the neighbourhood parks!!! Just a few days ago I got confronted by a store manager asking me if I could read English just because I used a wrong door to get into the store!! This happened to be the same door I had been allowed to use by a different store employee!, That encounter left me shaken because the disrespectful tone and behaviour the rude employee used towards me was not something I had encountered for almost 30 years I have lived in North America. Anyway, I find myself feeling discouraged and overwhelmed a lot of late but I choose to be a prisoner of hope and still trust and believe in the God of wonders beyond our understanding. I am a social worker and experience the same behaviour of resentment, hatred and unkindness even in the clients I support!!! This all just started almost the same time my husband lost his job!!! I know for a fact this is an attack from the enemy but I need to know how to fight without taking on the victim mentality rather to look to God to fight this battle for me but in the meantime do my job with no resentment towards the haters including the CEO of the company hubby worked for . Please lift us up in prayer .
    Have a blessed day.

  10. We moved just two weeks ago from my home of thirty-two years. I left my friends, my ministries there, and the familiar days of my life. I am grieving that loss. My son is suffering from an undiagnosed illness, and my heart grieves over this. I won’t get to go see my grandchildren for a while, and I am grieving. The waves threaten to drown me. I need your prayers for me to stand strong and to accept this process of growth.

  11. I wanted to be like a palm tree. I keep going back to your comment about staying silent when gossip around me happens. I need to remain quite!

    God allow me to remain quite during these times

  12. As a black woman with a black husband and two beautiful black little boys, I’m praying for the protection of the men in my life. With all the latest events that has occurred in this country, it has me very worried about the men in my family. Right now I feel like I’m about to break just from anxiety and worry. Just the what ifs and could have beens. I wish my other race counterparts and sisters in Christ would join me in prayer for healing for this country.

    1. I too am horrified by the recent events…my heart breaks for the families that have lost loved ones to this violence. I’m praying for my dear friends of color that have to worry as their husbands face the world each day….as they have to explain this horror and threat to their sons…I’m praying for you…

    2. Wow, Jennifer, I totally understand what you are feeling as a black woman with black sons and a black husband who was fired from his job. Praying for God to fight this injustice . To turn the hearts of the perpetrators of injustice from their evil ways and to protect us all and cover us by His previous blood like He did when He put blood on the door posts of the Israelites to protect them from the angel of death.
      Let us continue to pray and trust that God is working out ALL things for the good of ALL. Amen.

    3. As a retired inner city school teacher, I ‘adopted’ 4 black sons and I feel for you. I join you in your prayers for the lives of people of color, for their rights, and for their equality in the eyes of everyone. I pray against all racism in every form, against hatred based on skin color or religion or race or gender or just plain old ignorance. May God bless your family and I pray a hedge of protection around your beautiful sons.

  13. Gwen, today’s devotional on the Palm trees really spoke to me more than when I read it previously. Perhaps it’s the Covid 19 season that led me deeper into this scripture. Your research on palms led me to research the characteristics of the cedars of Lebanon, fascinating characteristics for all Christians to embrace.

  14. Today I entirely put everything into the care of God the Father , God the Son , God the Holy Spirit!. It is in HIM I live.. I move.. I have my being. I came to understand by making this a practice in my life I experience Peace. This peace is not the absence of problems but it is the presence of God…and with HIM life is not so troublesome. Truly HIS yoke is easy and the burden is light. He takes the weight that would have me down and out. HE lifts it and I am free!

  15. Windy day…sometimes you are portrayed as this strong and can take on anything kinda chic. But there’s days when the flaming arrows are thrown at you and those that you hold close push you to the ends of the earth. All the stubbornness selfishness hurtful things thrown at you wear on your tender heart and put you in a place of sorrow devastation disappointment anger frustration hurts you down to your tender bones. You hide it, only to protect the feelings of those you hold dear but in doing so you go down even further and your heart pays the price. How do you protect yourself your heart your soul and all that comes with it? Where do you go who do you turn to how will you get out of this hole you’ve fallen into? In the only one who hears you sees you knows you intimately and holds you close to His Heart! The Great Healer Wonderful Counselor Prince of Peace Catcher of every tear (psalm 56:8) because there are many, your name is etched in the palm of His Hand (Isaiah 49:16) He is your refuge (psalm 46:1) He strengthens you protects you (psalm 139:5) He goes before The Father to plead for your heart, for it is His! Loves you more than you will ever know-Jesus Christ

  16. I am facing some pretty big obstacles right now but I know that it is what is needed to get me back inline with my walk with Jesus. I ask that God provide me steadfastness and courage and strength to get threw this and come out of it with a newness of self. In jesus name Amen

  17. Thank you so much for these words of encouragement and for your prayers. This week has been much better, and I’m sure that’s the reason. Bless you!

  18. I hope you don’t mind but I sometimes copy out your message and post it in WhatsApp for the Bible Study group I belong to, Tuesday Chicks. Marian pointed out the significance of Palm trees in the Bible!
    Tks Judy wonderful , interesting thoughts. As Gwen is saying palm trees are very significant. Eg th 70palm trees of Elim in Ex. 15 after th Jews had experienced the disappointment of Marah, th palm tree of Deborah at which she gave judgement and the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Palms are considered a symbol of Jesus’ victory!
    Thank you so much for all your diligence in preparation when writing your messages!
    Love and God Bless
    Judy

  19. I would like prayer to withstand in the high winds of resistance right now. In January on what was my 5th year wedding anniversary, I filed for divorce after my husband decided to leave and move on with someone else. In February, my mother passed away and all that is left are myself and my siblings and a three year old niece. And now, with the COVID 19 we cannot be there physically for one another to support each other, as our mother was all we had left. I work an essential job in a hospital so my siblings are concerned for me. I know God loves me and said that He would never forsake me but it gets very lonely for me and these recent trials have almost left me feeling that I am at a breaking point. Thank you. God bless.

  20. I’m feeling more like a dry branch lately instead of a palm. My elderly dad has multiple health issues and extreme anxiety and has been staying with either my brother or myself since last October. My brother is an ER nurse, so to prevent exposure my dad has been with me since the covid19 shutdowns began. My husband also has health issues, so we’ve all been pretty much confined to home, except for grocery and pharmacy pickups. My dad requires a special diet, multiple medications, and is an extreme worrier. For the past year, even before covid19, there has constantly been some type of crisis ranging from major emergencies to minor irritations–but it’s been one thing after another, and at times multiple emergencies at once. Before covid19, I would get a break from the stress while my dad was with my brother or by taking a trip to the grocery store. Right now, I’m struggling with being and doing everything for everyone, when I really want to go in the closet and close the door. As much as I do, it’s never enough or something isn’t quite right. Normally, I’m pretty strong. I’ve been having my quiet time and devotional studies. I see daily where God is providing and protecting, and for that I’m so thankful. He sends just the words of encouragement that I need when I need it, but for the last couple of days, I’ve felt so discouraged and resistant. I don’t want to feel that way. Your devotional made me realize that I feel like I’m bent to the point of breaking. I would love your prayers for strength for me and relief for my dad from at least some of his difficulties. Thank you for your words of encouragement and inspiration. I enjoy your blog and your Psalm studies so much.

    1. Lisa,
      I am praying for you! I did a Bible study this morning, and it reminded me that God is always with us even when we sometimes don’t feel him. He uses trials in our lives to test our faith and to draw us closer to him. Remember how much he loves you and that you are so special. I am sure your dad and husband appreciate all you do for them more than they show or say, and remember God sees all you do and it pleases him. Hang in there you are not alone!

      1. Thank you so much for these words of encouragement and for your prayers. This week has been much better, and I’m sure that’s the reason. Bless you!

        1. I read everything n I feel like a palm tree who is dead. I have severe depression n don’t want to live like this. I have one daughter who is so done with me. I’m divorced n I just can’t live with this pain. I’m sick of all the drs n meds n side effects. Y can’t god heal me.

  21. Please add your prayers to mine as I’m facing hip surgeries and have asked the Lord to go before me and prepare everything I need even a great expectancy of a miracle.

    1. We will pray with you and for you, we are believing that you are already healed by the stripes of Jesus according to his word in Isa. 53:5. May the blood of Jesus cover you and may you have a peace that you have never experienced before.

    2. Lord, please be with Cynthia as she faces surgery. I pray Lord for a speedy recovery and that she will have peace in her heart! be with her and be with the doctors. Amen.

  22. I long to be the Palm tree today. To bend with the movements of Christ in me, not break. His Holy Spirit is my shield against the darkness and I believe!!!

    1. Lord, please strengthen my sister today to bounce back stronger each day! In Your name Jesus, let it be so!

  23. Please pray for my team of coworkers as we care for COVID-19 positive seniors, pray for the ill residents and their families. This invisible enemy is a beast and we need all the strength and mercy God provides. Pray also for the 8 residents that have passed and comfort for their families,. I feel like the palm tree in the high winds now but i know God is at work in this crisis.

    1. Post
      Author

      Oh, Carol. What a high wind! I just prayed for you and your team – and also these families who lost a loved one. Grateful for your service, friend.

      Grace and strength to you!
      GWEN

    2. Lord, Carol is here I believe for such a time as this! Continue strengthening her physically, spiritually and emotionally to care for the patients. Watch over her loved ones and give them what they need to endure these days and cause all those co-workers around Carol to be moved by Your grace, visable in her Lord, and draw those who don’t know You, to You. In the name of Jesus I pray, let it be so Lord!

    3. God we ask that you be with all healthcare workers as they battle this virus and try and keep themselves and their patients safe. Give these workers strength during this time.

  24. God saved me yesterday. I was stuck on a hill. He sent 2 people to help me. Amazing. Pray for those that are suffering. Give them peace and healing.

  25. I am dealing with my husband’s health issues and my youngest daughter cancer issues so I would love to be a palm tree which I believe maybe I am sometimes these issues have been going on for awhile and I am still standing

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