Willows and Palms

May 17, 2015

Life sure ebbs and flows, doesn’t it? On Monday, you can be on top of the world, and by Tuesday you’re asking yourself, “Could things get any worse?” I have definitely been there.


In Leviticus 23:40, God instructs the High Priests to come into His presence with two branches. In one hand, a Palm, and in the other, a Willow.


Throughout scriptures, a Palm branch has symbolized prosperity, victory, success and joy. Seems like all the right things to have with you when you are going in to praise the Lord, right?


But then there is the Willow. If you have ever seen a Willow tree, it truly looks as if it is crying. Long, draping, tear-like branches represent distress, sadness, trials and adversity. What an interesting thing to carry with you to meet with the Lord.


I don’t know about you, but I am grateful the Lord calls us into His presence in both seasons of life.


As a husband, father and pastor, there have been many times over the past few decades I would consider myself to have walked through some Willow days. When we first came to Free Chapel we didn’t have a lot of people attending, or money to keep things going, and things were stressful! Seeing five kids through the tumultuous high-school years. Let me tell you, we have seen our share of difficulty.


But here is what I learned. When you are faithful with the Willow days, God will lead you into the Palm days!


Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Psalms 30:5


All five of my children now are in love with the Lord, and active within the church. I have been promoted to the best role, Grandpa! I am truly rejoicing in one of the most exquisite Palm seasons of my life. And you know what, that’s ok!


Its ok, to rejoice when things are good! So often, we wait until everything is in shambles before coming into God’s presence! But let us not forget Him in those days when things are good!


I don’t know what you are facing today. You may be surrounded by Willows. I want to say to you, “Hang on! Keep your head up! Keep praising!” God is still worthy, and if you place your trust in Him, He will be faithful to see you through.


Like myself, you may be in a season that is…well, pretty good! Don’t be ashamed to vocalize your thanks and praise to the Lord!


In Revelation 7:9, John writes of a vision the Lord gave him of heaven:After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”


Notice what they didn’t have . . . Willows!


You see, we are promised a day where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more hurt. What a glorious hope we have found in Jesus! Whether you have Palms, or Willows surrounding you, may you hold fast to the promises of hope found within His word today. I have never seen the righteous forsaken!


God bless you.