As I walked through the temple grounds, the snow-laden bamboo branches captured my attention. Prior to living in Asia, I had associated bamboo with growing in tropical places, not also in those that received snow. Yet even in heavy snowfalls, the bamboo proves resilient. In Daoism philosophy (present in Korea and China), bamboo is considered a symbol of longevity, flexibility, and durability. In Japan, the bamboo plant is revered for the same attributes. Although bamboo can bend quite deeply under the heavy pressure of snow (and even look as if it will break), the bamboo proves resilient, snapping back upright in defiance.
When challenges and adversity come our way, perhaps we could take some lessons from the bamboo. These slender stalks have a higher tensile strength than steel. I doubt that even the massive trees of the Pacific Northwest can match that. Although we may not be the biggest, wealthiest, smartest, most popular, or showiest person on the block, Christ has made us like bamboo. We may sway deeply in the wind or bend rather severely, but if we hold steadfast in our faith in God, we will not break. As Philippians 4:13 reads, "I can do all things through Him who give me strength."