Wind Stress

There’s this place called “Biosphere 2” which is “an Earth systems science research facility located in Oracle, Arizona . . . [which] has been owned by the University of Arizona since 2011.” (WikiPedia, I know, I don’t tend to source this site either, but go with me here :P)

Biosphere_2_Habitat_&_Lung_2009-05-10

Image found through Creative Commons: See image here.

Without understanding the intricate details, what I understand from what Jeremy Jernigan explained in his message from this weekend is there was an experiment conducted here where tress were grown in a seemingly “perfect” environment, which excluded the natural occurrence of wind, since they were grown inside this Biosphere.

The result yielded from this experiment is the trees would grow to a point, but without wind, before these trees could mature, they’d fall over and die! There is something called wind stress, which explains the literally vital use of wind for trees (and other living things).

Before I bore some of you with a science lesson (which is actually surprising since I find this particular scienctific fact quite cool), let me answer the questions you might be asking…

  1. …how are we like these trees?
  2. …and what does wind have to do with anything?

Before I get into those answers, let me give you a short, modern example of wind’s relevance.

Imagine, if you will, you are driving down the road and a gust of wind pushes against your vehicle from either side; to compensate for the resistance, you turn the wheel a bit the other way and maybe even step on the gas a little. Once adjusted, you continue on your way.

Why did you adjust the vehicle? Why not just let the wind take you as it pleases?

Well, even if wind only slightly moves you, without asdjusting, you’re at the risk of hitting someone in the next lane perhaps, or maybe it’s plain instinct to correct your vehicle even if nobody is around.

This is just to remind you of the power of wind in our lives in its literal sense.

But wind might be a little more than that. Let’s look at some places we learn about wind:

  • John 3.8 talks of wind’s power, though it is invisible
  • Mark 4.39-41 shares a story of Jesus commanding the wind and it obeying
  • Numbers 11.31 tells of God using wind to bring about great blessing

And these are only a few mentions of it in Biblical examples, and we have a bunch of modern idioms about the wind we spout out without really knowing it too.

We, like the trees, may like to be in seemingly perfect conditions, but it isn’t what we need. If we see wind as, at the very least, the difficult situations in life, and at best the Holy Spirit Himself, we might be able to apply this more concretely. You and I don’t need wind to survive like these trees essentially do, but if we avoid the wind in the sense of trials in our life, we will eventually give up on life. We stay in the comfortable biosphere of a “perfect place,” and we only grow a little bit before we can’t anymore.

I don’t even want to imagine my life without the wind or spirit of God. It’s His Spirit that allows me to bend and face challenging resistance, like the trees in their natural habitat, or in the wind-swayed vehicle. Wind is either used:

  1. To humble me to a place of realizing I need God
  2. or to help me not work so hard to move forward as I paddle unnecessarily

We can settle for a comfortable, riskless, safe life. Most of us do. It’s more predictable and costs less. We like things that make our life affordable and convenient, even at the expense of it being routine.

But here’s the thing…we aren’t invincible. Comfortable and risk-free living doesn’t protect us from loss or pain. And it definitely doesn’t teach us about how to handle surprising gusts of wind… even if we feel “safe” most of the time.

There’s something amazing about the people who set no limits on their time, money, living situation, material possessions, actions, and words. They seem to still be able to eat enough and get where they need to and accomplish what they need to, but they are pouring into people in incredible ways.

That’s what wind can do for us. We aren’t immune to havoc, but we can let it shape us and grow us like wind does for trees who grow to be the bigger, older, stronger ones!

If you want to experience new things, or grow into this new creation God intends for you, or endure the really painful things in life, you’re going to need to step out of your perfect habitat and let the wind push you a little bit. You might have to adjust course a little as it does, and it won’t always feel comfortable, but you’ll still get to the right place and you’ll have helped a lot of people along the way.

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