Growing Toward the Light

Plants grow and thrive in sunlight. We grow and thrive in the light of Christ.

I love to be surrounded by green, growing, living things; I often find comfort in the thriving plant life in the outdoors. Unfortunately, I don’t have much of a green thumb, and I haven’t had much luck in maintaining houseplants. I have one plant in particular, a parlor palm, that is struggling. Its leaves are dull and dry, and its stems are drooping. I’ve been doing my best to care for it, but I haven’t been able to help it thrive.

Photo by Manikandan Annamalai

In Dr. Loreen Allphin’s April 2023 BYU devotional, “Six Spiritual Lessons from the Natural World,” she discusses her own love for plants and shares some of the lessons she has learned from the natural world about surviving and overcoming the turmoils of life. The first lesson is the importance of growing toward the light. Dr. Allphin explains that plants are phototropic—naturally and persistently seeking out the life-giving light of the sun. She says that “just as light is essential for life in the natural world, the Light of Christ is necessary for our spiritual survival.” Like plants, we should diligently seek the life-giving light of our Savior. Plants use the energy gained from sunlight to grow further. The healing love and light we receive from Christ gives us strength to grow as well.

As I reflected on this message, I realized that the place on the mantle where my parlor palm sits gets no natural light from any of the windows in my home. I have since moved the plant closer to a window. While no miracles have occurred, it’s starting to perk up! It is comforting to know that in the same way, when I feel spiritually weak, moving closer to the Light of Christ will lift up my soul.

We benefit greatly from using nature to come closer to Christ, but we should never take it for granted. Dr. Allphin reminds us of our responsibility to care for our home planet Earth: “Because I have benefited so greatly from the Divine creation, I truly want to be a good steward over it.” I feel that same desire. As I care for our world, I am reminded of how God cares for us, and I am filled with gratitude. I can find peace in the sunshine of his light.

Learn even more from nature by watching Dr. Loreen Allphin’s complete devotional address: “Six Spiritual Lessons from the Natural World.”

Source: BYU Speeches

—MJ Christensen, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Read Sarah Brown’s article “Rooting Your Testimony in Christ” to learn more about growing in Christ.

Find out more about good stewardship over the earth in Sierra Smart’s article “Stewardship: It’s Time to Step It Up.” 

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