Without wind, the trees grew too fast and toppled over before they were mature. It turns out that wind is vital in a tree's growth. Wind makes plants and trees stronger because the wind keeps them moving, which, in turn, causes “stress in the wooden load bearing structure of the tree. . . . To compensate, the tree manages to grow something called the reaction wood (or stress wood).” This wood allows trees to position themselves to “get the best light” or “optimum resources” and is why trees can survive in awkward and contorted shapes. In short, trees and plants need the stress of fighting against the wind to survive.
Many of us believe we would love to live a carefree, “wind-free” life. We would gladly bypass the struggles of life, but actually that is not true nor is it good.
Victor Frankl in his book Man’s Search for Meaning (about his time in a German concentration camp) looks at man’s will to live and concluded that man needs tension in his life, and that he will often seek it out. Two minor examples are the love of competition for some and the need to introduce a new adventure or endeavor by others, whether it is skydiving or card making. These new endeavors put us in unfamiliar and often uncomfortable situations where we must overcome either our fears or our inadequacies in order to win or master the new task. Though some of us require more tension than others do in order to feel alive or find meaning, we will all seek out something new to introduce tension when our lives become too blasé.
Though I know there is a difference between seeking out our own stressful situations and having them imposed on us, I think I can now understand two verses better than I did before.
The first is James 1:2-4, when James reminds us to “. . . count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Trials are our wind, creating situations requiring us to build up our “stress wood” so that we lack nothing and may be “perfect and complete.”
The other verse is I Corinthians 10:13 which says, “. . . but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” God knew all about Frankl’s logotherapy and the varying degrees of stress each person could take long before Frankl coined the term.
Yes, we do enjoy the calm weather in our life when all is going well. We even welcome those sweet breezes, those small challenges that give us a sense of achievement when we conquer them. We will also impose difficult projects and adventures on ourselves, then bow our heads and turn our shoulders into them and work our way through. But we must also remember that there will be unexpected gusts and overwhelming winds of unwelcome trials, which will threaten to take us off our feet and that we must endure, for only then can we become mature, develop deep roots, and grow strong.
Pant, Anna. “The “Role of Wind in a Tree’s Life.” WESCI Science Everyday.