I don't know for sure why the tops of all the trees in the Northern-most corner of the island of Guadeloupe are all pointing west. I am sure, however, that somehow or another, it is related to wind. Maybe this happened as a result of the last hurricane to strike the island paradise; or maybe the prevailing winds in this area blow from east to west. I truly don't know, and though I'm sure I could find out, it didn't interest me enough to put forth the effort.

What did interest me, however, was that the leaves atop those bent-over branches all pointed...up! Whatever harsh winds those trees had to endure, nothing stopped them from looking up to the sky.

Now in my simplistic way of thinking, those leaves could very well have just grown the same way as the branches they clung to: bent over, as if carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. But they don't. They don't let themselves be influenced by the harsh winds that caused their branches to grow horizontally instead of upright. Instead, they use those wind-bent trees as a platform to grow--upwards!

Why?

Because they are looking towards the sun. The sun is the source of their life. In fact, [all] life needs sunlight, and without it, there is no life on Earth. Specifically, however, plants need sunlight for the process of photosynthesis--the process by which they synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water to produce glucose. The plant then either uses the glucose itself, or is eaten by animal life and thus provides energy for all life. And since oxygen production is a by-product of photosynthesis, and we need oxygen to live...Well, you get the picture!

With all of that in mind, it is a bit easier to understand why those leaves on those horizontal, wind-bent branches all grow up towards the sun!

I don't know about you, but I often feel like those wind-bent trees. The trials of life, the problems, the circumstances, most of which are outside of my control, leave me beaten down, helpless and hopeless; and I believe most of you can relate to what I'm saying. So is there a lesson for us in all of this?

I think there is. Remember that those leaves have the choice of growing horizontally with their wind-blown branches but instead, they choose to use those same branches as a platform to point up to the sunlight they so desperately need. We, in the face of our circumstances, have a similar choice: We can allow life's burdens to beat us down and leave us hopeless and helpless, or we can use them as a stepping stone to launch us into a brighter future.

And to take the analogy a step farther, let's remember that the reason those leaves grow upright is because they are seeking the sunlight they so desperately need; and that sunlight causes them to grow and receive the energy they need, not only for themselves, but in order for them to fulfill their role in the circle of life. We also desperately need the "Son". Let's remember that Jesus is the: "...light of the world..." (John 8:12 NIV) and "In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:4-5 NIV) The "Son-light" that shines upon us when we seek Jesusis what we need to grow, to be nourished, and also it is what we need to be able to care for others!

The "winds" of problems, trials, negative circumstances, etc., are guaranteed to blow, and they may very well leave you beaten down, helpless and without hope. What will you do? Will you allow yourself to remain beaten? Or will you learn an important lesson from the leaves of those wind-bent trees on the northern tip of Guadeloupe? Will you look up, towards the Son? Will you allow your negative circumstances to be a stepping stone, a tool so-to-speak, that will draw you closer to the Jesus Christ? Will you draw from His "Son-light" so that you can grow above your circumstances? So that you can have the energy to go on? So that you can have what you need in order to be there for others?

Think about it!

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.