For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8 KJV)
“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3 (NASB)
Grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate or coconut water or whatever beverage you enjoy sipping on while reading long articles because this is going to end up being a long one. 😅
Last fall, I put some apple seeds that I saved out of an apple into some dirt to allow it to naturally go through the winter. I also put some in the refrigerator last November and again in January. I took them out briefly for the photo below. The seeds are wrapped in a damp paper towel which I placed in a Ziploc bag so that they wouldn’t dry out.
This process is known as stratification. “In horticulture, stratification is the process of pretreating seeds to simulate natural conditions that a seed must endure before germination. Many seed species have an embryonic dormancy phase, and generally will not sprout until this dormancy is broken.” — Wikipedia
When it comes to apple seeds, it usually takes, according to the linked article, 70 to 80 days. However, it looks like they can sprout too soon. I say that because one of the little apple trees I planted to be stratified this winter sprung up too early instead of waiting for spring like it was supposed to. The silly thing. Anyway.
I brought that one inside and left the rest to be good little seeds and go through the rest of stratification. The little tree (whose name is Johnny Appleseed the Second, by the way – because I name everything – and this was my dad’s suggestion for a name) is now about three inches tall; I didn’t expect it to survive because it sprouted at the wrong time. But it did. So I put it under my plant light with my citronella plant, garlic, rubber plant, daffodil, Aloe Vera, Venus flytrap, pitcher plant, tomatoes, peppers, lemon trees, Mandarin orange saplings, and one other citrus tree that I am unsure of what it is. I think I’ve turned our “Arts and Crafts room” into a nursery at this point. 😅 Oh, I’m digressing. Getting back on topic…
So far, Johnny Appleseed the Second looks healthy. However, since Johnny Appleseed the Second will be indoors until spring, I wanted to make sure I was taking proper care of him. The ones I had last year (that came up in the spring like good little seeds) nature took care of, except for the occasional watering, so that they would be used to being outdoors. I thought I remembered this, and so researched it:
“Wind greatly affects plants throughout their growth. When plants are seedlings, slight breezes help them grow more sturdy. ” — Gardening FAQ
Turns out I remembered correctly. Thus, if the little guy is constantly protected from the wind and then planted outside this spring, his trunk will be weak and the wind could break him.
Therefore, staking a plant or blocking the wind from reaching a plant can actually do more harm than good in the long run, as long as the wind is not storm-strength. Every other day or so, I blow on Johnny Appleseed the Second, trying to mimic wind to make him stronger.
And then I realized… just like I am doing for little Johnny Appleseed the Second, God allows us to go through trials that make us bend and knocks us around so that we get stronger in Him. He allows the wind to blow, and with it, strengthens us so we don’t break when the stronger storms come later.
In conclusion to this long-winded (sorry bad pun) post: We’re like apple trees! 🍎 🍏 Okay, okay: Our Father in Heaven allows turbulence to strengthen His children because He loves them. ❤
This poem by Lillian E. Barr was in Streams In The Desert in the January 16th devotional; it seems relevant here. I hope you enjoy her poem as much as I did:
THE TREE GOD PLANTS
The wind that blows can never kill
The tree God plants;
It bloweth east, it bloweth west,
The tender leaves have little rest,
But any wind that blows is best;
The tree God plants
Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,
Spreads wider boughs, for God’s good will
Meets all its wants.
There is no frost hath power to blight
The tree God shields;
The roots are warm beneath soft snows,
And when Spring comes it surely knows,
And every bud to blossom grows.
The tree God shields
Grows on apace by day and night,
Till sweet to taste and fair to sight
Its fruit it yields.
There is no storm hath power to blast
The tree God knows;
No thunderbolt, nor beating rain,
Nor lightning flash, nor hurricane
When they are spent it doth remain.
The tree God knows
Through every tempest standeth fast,
And from its first day to its last
Still, fairer grows.
If in the soul’s still garden-place
A seed God sows
A little seed it soon will grow,
And far and near all men will know
For heavenly lands, he bids it blow.
A seed God sows,
And up it springs by day and night;
Through life, through death, it groweth right;