1 Peter 5:6-7
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

A gypsy moth caterpillar infestation can strip the leaves from large numbers of trees, threatening the trees’ lives. Since they don’t have a means of escape, it doesn’t seem as if the poor trees have much of a chance.

But botanists were tipped off to the possibility that trees may not be all that defenseless when they began to investigate why only a few trees were badly damaged by insects in an infected grove while most stood unharmed. They discovered that when facing a threat like gypsy moth caterpillars, trees begin to defend themselves by sounding the alarm. A large variety of trees – including beeches, poplars, sugar maples and red oaks – communicate with each other. Scientists believe the trees communicate by releasing chemicals called pheromones into the air. What they now know is that before insects attacking one tree can get to the tree next door, the second tree has already begun defending itself.

How do they defend themselves? When under attack or notified by other trees of attack, most trees begin to manufacture an array of poisons. Some of the poisons make leaves impossible to digest, while others kill the insects outright. Some make as many as eight poisons at once, and many can change the poisons that are made from year to year.

Our Creator’s concern for living things extends even to plants. If He sees to this detailed level of care for trees, can there be anything in our lives that is too small for His loving concern?

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for those times when I have thought that a problem or concern of mine was too small to bring to You. Continue to urge me to get closer to You and become more dependent on You. Amen.

Author: Paul A. Bartz

Ref: Brownlee, Shannon. 1983. “The silent battle.” Discover, Sept. p. 28. Photo: Sequoia trees Pixabay.com

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