Beauty in Adversity

Leaves of a maple tree in Tenryu-ji Temple in Arashiyama. Kyoto, Japan (Photo by Wanders of Eve, October 10, 2015)
Leaves of a maple tree in Tenryu-ji Temple in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan (Photo by Wanders of Eve, October 10, 2015)

Autumn is not yet at its peak when we visited Japan early this month. But in Kyoto, the color of the leaves is already starting to change, from a fading green hue to yellow, orange and red.

Living in a tropical country all my life, I wondered for quite some time before why the leaves of the maple tree turn red in autumn. But according to science, as summer ends in some parts of the world and the days become shorter, the nights longer and as the temperature drops, the chlorophyll which gives the leaves their green color, begin to break down and the underlying pigments like yellow, orange and red become visible. These colors were there all along but are not seen during the height of summer because they are concealed by the green chlorophyll.

I like how one preacher drew a lesson from this autumn metamorphosis where he described it as an event that can reflect beauty in adversity. The trials we encounter, when we respond to them rightly, reveals an underlying beauty that can only be revealed in adverse weather conditions like the splendor seen during the peak of autumn.

We may also wonder, soon the leaves will fall and people brace themselves as an even more severe condition is anticipated in winter. But as sure as autumn and winter take place, so does spring – a season that reflects new life and renewed hope. “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” (Psalm 39:7)

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