Image by mbll from Pixabay

Why don’t trees freeze to death in winter?

After all, if you or I stood outside naked for several months in sub-zero temperatures, we’d soon be turned into frosty statues.

Trees can’t burrow into the ground and hibernate like bears, and they can’t fly south like migratory birds. They’re fixed in place, at the mercy of the elements.

And yet they somehow survive through the cold depths of winter. Why don’t they turn to ice, since, like other living things, they’re made mostly of water?

Their trick is something called “hardening.”

In autumn, trees in cold climates undergo a change whereby water flows out of their cells. The concentrated sugars, proteins, and acids left behind act as a potent antifreeze. The water now in the spaces between the cells is so pure that ice crystals can’t form. This ultra-pure water can be cooled to -40 degrees F and still remain an ice-free liquid.

Pretty cool, isn’t it?

But what is it that triggers the hardening?

Ah, this is where we can learn a lesson from the trees.

You’d think that the hardening would be triggered by the drop in temperatures each autumn. But if that were the case, the trees could easily be fooled. After all, some autumns get chilly early, while others stretch into warm Indian summers.

The trees need to trust something more reliable than the erratic temperatures.

So they keep their eyes on the sun.

Rather than taking their cues from the fickle weather, they respond to the gradual shortening of the days as summer segues into autumn. The pattern of how light changes is the same each year, and it is this steady and reliable decrease in sunlight that triggers hardening. (Scientists have found that they can even fool a tree into hardening in July using artificial light.)

As Hope Jahren puts it in her 2012 book, “Lab Girl”:

“Trees can trust the sun to tell it when winter is coming, even during years when the weather is capricious. These plants know that when your world is changing rapidly, it is important to have identified the one thing that you can always rely on.”

Here’s where we find the application to our lives.

When our world is changing rapidly, we can’t put our trust in unreliable things like our feelings or the opinions of others. We also can’t rely on our circumstances to give us a true picture of where we stand with God.

Instead, we need to focus on the one thing we can always rely on.

We should keep our eyes on the Son, Jesus.

Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

Not only is Christ unchanging and eternal, but so is His love for us.

“How deep the Father's love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.” (lyrics by Stuart Townend)

So keep your eyes on the Son. His love for us never changes, and His grace and power are always available to us.

In a world characterized by change and confusion, trust in the unchanging, ever-living, unfailing name of Christ.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace.” (lyrics by Helen Howarth Lemmel)

“Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.”

Hebrews 12:2

© 2022 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Keep Your Eyes On The Son

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