Life is not designed to be a “stress rehearsal” and yet that’s what many of us make it. We spend our lives stressed to the max.
The John Hancock Tower in Boston was completed in 1972 but couldn’t be used for another four years due to a mysterious problem. The large, 4 x 11 windowpanes kept popping out by the dozens. Consequently, engineers replaced all the windows with 400-pound sections of thick tempered glass, but even these would not stay in place. Once when Boston was hit by 75 mile-per-hour winds, 65 windows exploded. It was finally determined that the building swayed too much in high winds and the windows could not handle the stress. The ultimate solution involved anchoring the building from the inside with gigantic weights.
Do you ever feel like a window in the John Hancock Tower – a little more stress and you’ll explode? God doesn’t want us to live that way, and the best solution is to be anchored on the inside. The Psalmist wrote, “God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble…” When he is your anchor, you’ll not live every day as a “stress rehearsal.”
I am always amazed at how some of the most profound lessons about life come from the simplest expressions of God’s creation around us.
South Africa’s national flower, the protea, produces a seed pod that can last for up to twenty years. The uniqueness of this seed pod, however, is its method of release. The pod only opens when it has been through a brush fire. The pod’s asbestos-like fibers protect the seeds and once the fire has passed, the scorched pod bursts open releasing its contents. The fluffy seeds are carried by the wind across the now barren terrain and new life is soon visible in the charred remains of the devastation.
Difficult moments are common to all of us. Like a fire, life’s disappointments sweep over us leaving us as empty as the barren terrain after a forest fire. And yet God has placed in the human spirit the seeds of strength and determination – some of which you never discover until you’ve been through the fire. If God can create a plant to survive the heat and bloom again, imagine how victorious you can be when you overcome tough times!
K. Chesterton wrote, “There’s a lot of difference between listening and hearing.”
Honey is nature’s perfect sweetener, but did you know it requires good listening to produce? New research reveals that flowers listen and respond. Honestly, I don’t think our geraniums care about anything I have to say. But when a recording of a bee buzzing was played back to evening primrose flowers, the blooms began to vibrate. It’s as if the petals acted as receptors to the sound much like our outer ears. Immediately the primrose began to produce a nectar with a 20% increase in sugar concentration. Producing such a high grade of nectar all the time would waste too much of the flower’s resources. But the buzzing sound triggers a perfect and timely response, creating a profitable moment for both flower and bee. The flower doesn’t just hear, it listens for the right sound.
Are you listening for the right words to guide you in life? Hearing is one thing, but the ability to listen and discern God’s truth will change your life forever. No wonder the Psalmist declares that God’s words are sweeter than honey!