Friday, December 31, 2010

DEVOTION: The Upside Down Tree - Shirley Corder

The mighty Baobab tree found in the savanna (tropical grassland) areas of Africa is a fascinating sight. Its fire-resistant bark is like cork, and is used to make cloth and rope. The fruit, known as "monkey bread", is rich in Vitamin C, and the leaves and roots are used for medicinal purposes.

The tree stores up to 120,000 litres (32,000 US gallons) of water, which the Kalahari Bushmen tap using hollow pieces of grass, similar to our drinking straws. The huge trunk provides shelter, food and water for animals and humans. Mature trees are often hollow, and are even sometimes used as bars or barns. For these reasons, it is often called The Tree of Life.

According to radio-carbon dating, some Baobab trees are calculated to be 2,000 years old. The Baobab features as the Tree of Life in the famous "Lion King" by Disney.

For most of the year, the Baobab has no leaves. Its head and arms appeared to be buried in the sand. The spreading branches resemble fibrous roots as they reach out to the sky. It looks as if it's upside down and there are numerous legends that explain how this happened. One is that the gods got angry with it, and threw it down to earth, where it landed upside down. Another claims that it complained so much that it was stuffed into the ground upside down, so it couldn't complain any more. Take a look at the picture and you'll see why its other nickname is The Upside-Down Tree.

Early Christians were referred to as those "who turned the world upside down" because they made such an impact on people. I wonder if that could be said of us today. It's amazing to think we're at the end of yet another year. 365 days ago, you probably had many plans and dreams for last year. I know I did. Did you, like me, hope to make a difference in someone's life during the year? Did you fulfil any of your resolutions?

Over forty years ago, someone turned my life upside down when they introduced me to Jesus Christ. Through the years, I have been privileged to lead others to Christ. Yet I am still surrounded by people who need a touch from Him.

As we enter a new year, there's almost nothing we can be certain of, outside of God's love. Yet we can make plans and nurture hopes. My prayer for this year is that, no matter what life brings my way, I will make a difference. I don't want to be like the Baobab and stick my head in the sand; but I would like to act like a Tree of Life. 

Will you join me? As we move into another new year, may each of us who are Christian writers make a fresh commitment to make a difference. Together, let's turn this 'ol world upside down—or would that be right way up? 

PRAYER:  Lord, forgive me for the times I appear to be just like everyone else. Please help me to live in such a way that my life makes a difference to those around me. Help me to show them how to turn their lives right way up. Amen.

"These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also" (Acts 17:6 RV)

SHIRLEY CORDER has been an RN, a pastor’s wife and a mother, but she never expected to be a published writer. A close encounter with aggressive cancer in 1997 turned her life upside down yet again, and she has been writing ever since. Hundreds of Shirley’s inspirational and life-enrichment articles have been published around the world. You can contact Shirley through her website or follow her on Twitter.

(Footnote: Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer, published in 2012 by Revell/Baker, is available at any of the online bookstores in print or e-format.)


  1. Good morning and Happy New Year! I am so happy to find your blog. I am a Christian writer in Florida, USA, recently started a blog and trying desperately to get my books sold. I plan to read many of your posts today for inspiration!

  2. Welcome, Colleen!

    And thanks for that timely message, Shirl! We need to stay aware of the (many) times when something that appears upside down is really right side up!

  3. Happy New Year to you both from South Africa, and welcome Colleen. Here's wishing us all a right-way up year!

  4. Precious sister, you've always been right way up in my books. Repentance is a 180 degree turn from the status quo - whether right to left or down to up. Praying that all your goals and plans for 2011 find fruition in our Lord's good timing. Blessings, my dear friend.

  5. Thank you Judith. Blessings on your plans as well.