Benefits of Trials
A beekeeper once told how some of the young bees are nurtured to ensure their healthy development. The queen lays each egg in a six-sided cell which is filled with enough pollen and honey to feed upon until it reaches a certain stage of maturity. The top of the cell is then sealed with a capsule of wax. When the occupant has exhausted it’s supply of nourishment, the time has come for the tiny creature to be released from it’s confinement. But what wrestling and straining it endures to get through the wax seal. The opening is so narrow that in the agony of exit, the bee rubs off the membrane that encases its wings. Thus, when it finally does emerge, it is able to fly.
The man telling the story said that one time a moth got into the hive and ate the wax capsules. As a result, the young bees crawled out without any effort or trouble. But, they couldn’t fly. Soon, the mature bees, seeing the pathetic, unproductive state of these new arrivals, instinctively proceeded to sting them to death.
Pebble Beach California
Pebble Beach on the coast of California is a lovely area that typifies the advantages of friction. Ceaseless waves thunder ashore and dash the beach. The pitiless pounding of the waves tosses and grinds the stones together. They are dashed against the rugged, ageless cliffs … this goes on year after year.
The result is round, polished stones that are collected by tourists as ornaments. Near Pebble Beach is a quiet cove. A natural formation serves as a breakwater. Sheltered by the cliff are numerous stones. They are unsought and unwanted. They have been spared the wear caused by the pounding waves. They have remained rough and unpolished.
When testing times come, we may be buffeted about; but the rough edges are knocked off of our lives. The friction of trials can cause wonderful features to be brought to the surface. Believers who understand the friction of trials will be able to face life’s hard times.
50 Ways You Can Beat Stress
1. Get up 15 minutes earlier. Take the rush out of breakfast, dressing, and getting to work.
2. Get organized the night before. Set your breakfast table, get the coffee pot ready, and lay out your clothes.
3. Throw away your uncomfortable clothes.
4. Schedule your appointments with others a few minutes before you
plan to arrive. That way you’re not the one left waiting.
5. Write it all down. Don’t rely on your memory for addresses, directions, and phone numbers.
6. Get your car serviced before it breaks down. That goes for all the other machines in your life, too.
7. Duplicate all your keys.
8. If possible, change your work schedule to avoid rush-hour crowds.
9. Say no whenever you feel like it. That way you won’t be doing a lot of things you don’t like.
10. Don’t shop for clothes with your skinny friends.
11. Shop and bank during off-hours to avoid lines.
12. Eat later.
13. Don’t eat with your kids. Feed them earlier.
14. Keep extra soap, shampoo, toilet paper, and other necessities.
15. Walk more. Exercise soothes you.
16. Xerox or copy all important papers.
17. Think ahead. Gas up before holidays, take coins for toll booths, toys for children, pantyhose without runs, etc.
18. Junk everything that doesn’t work right.
19. Make reservations everywhere you can.
20. Allow extra time for everything.
21. Learn to wait without getting upset. Bring a good book.
22. Arrange meetings where there is a phone. If there’s a slipup, you can still get in touch.
23. Remember, every disaster has a funny side. Learn to look for it.
24. Keep a “busy kit.” It might include books, walkman, radio, magazines, etc.
25. Relax your standards.
26. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
27. Set up a serene place for yourself somewhere.
28. Instead of worrying about “what if…”, learn to say “so what!”
29. Count your blessings.
30. Keep something to do near the phone. File your nails or something when you’re put on hold.
31. Memorize your favorite poems. You can recite them to yourself when you’re stuck in an elevator.
32. Carry candy or gum.
33. Travel light.
34. Be prepared for rain.
35. Ask questions. You won’t make so many mistakes.
36. Listen to your body rhythms. If you’re best in the mornings, shedule things then.
37. Gas up.
38. Always have a plan B. If your picnic is rained out, go to the movies.
39. Don’t use drugs or alcohol to beat stress. They don’t work in the long run.
40. Get in touch. Hold hands with your loved ones, pet your dog, etc. Physical contact is a great stress reliever.
41. Take breaks.
42. Find some kind of regular exercise you enjoy. If you hate to jog, try swimming, but do something to get your heartrate up and burn off stress.
43. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Get them off your chest.
44. Find a sympathetic ear and use it.
45. Reward yourself from time to time.
46. Take long, hot baths.
47. Schedule more fun into your life.
48. Get away from the kids from time to time.
49. Get a good massage.
50. Unwind before bed. Stretch, listen to music, or do some sort of relaxing activity.
Picture a thin piece of agate rock held up to the light. As you look at it you see the wonder of it. You see the awesome beauty of the swirls and striations.
When I was visiting a rock store in Arizona, I was looking through all the thin slices of agate, each different and unique in its beauty. As I was holding them up to the light, a sales lady walked over to me and said that I reminded her of another woman who had come in many months before. She proceeded to tell me this experience which has helped me through many of my times of trouble:
A woman came in and for a couple of hours was going through the many slices of agate, holding them up to the light to admire their beauty. Eventually the sales woman went over to her to ask if there was anything in particular she was looking for.
“No”, said the woman, ” I am just enjoying looking at these pieces of agate because, I realize that it was by means of pressure and fire that these things of such incredible beauty were created. You see, I have been going through some very severe trials in my life, and by looking at these pieces of agate, I realize that it is by means of the pressures of life and the fires of tribulation that God will create something beautiful in me and for me.”
Learning to Get Back Up
Bringing a giraffe into the world is a tall order. A baby giraffe falls 10 feet from its mother’s womb and usually lands on its back. Within seconds it rolls over and tucks its legs under its body. From this position it considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from its eyes and ears. Then the mother giraffe rudely introduces its offspring to the reality of life.
In his book, A View from the Zoo, Gary Richmond describes how a newborn giraffe learns its first lesson. The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then she does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heels.
When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The struggle to rise is momentous. As the baby calf grows tired, the mother kicks it again to stimulate its efforts. Finally, the calf stands for the first time on its wobbly legs.
Then the mother giraffe does the most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild, baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards, and wild hunting dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it.
Sometimes seeming rejection, being beaten down, and vilified may create discouragement. Yet successful individuals who have risen above their situations (some beyond their control for a time), show adversity can mold and shape a person for the better. Rev. 2:10 indicates that the bride of Christ will be “fully put to the test”, in order to gain the “crown of life”.
In the center of main street in Enterprise, Alabama, stands one of the strangest monuments in the world. It’s a memorial to an insect! Handsomely carved in stone is the likeness of a boll weevil. In early plantation days almost everyone in the community raised cotton. But as the years rolled on, a serious pestilence infested the area in the form of a small beetle that punctured the boll of the plant. As a result, it became almost impossible to bring a season’s growth to maturity.
George Washington Carver, along with several other scientists, became deeply concerned about the situation and began intensive studies to see if any substitute crop could be grown in that part of the country. Raising peanuts was the answer, for they could be planted and harvested with very little loss. In time, cotton gins were forgotten in that region, and it became known as an outstanding peanut center of the world. Soon the farmers’ profits far exceeded what they had earned from their best cotton yield. In the end, they realized that the destructive insect they had feared had actually triggered the research that brought them prosperity.
Jehovah often allows trials to unsettle our lives for a blessed purpose. Perhaps we are trying to “grow cotton” when we should be “raising peanuts.” If so, the delays and disappointments we experience are just the gracious “boll weevils” sent to redirect us so that we will plant the crop of God’s choosing!
Some years ago an interesting article was published in a popular magazine. It provided details about an unusual tree called a “bristlecone pine”. The tree is native to the American western mountains, sometimes as much as two miles above sea level. They can be found on cliffs. While that may not seem an ideal location, really it works to these trees’ advantage.
They are estimated to live for several thousand years. Many of the older trees only have a single thin layer of bark. That they are able to survive at all seems miraculous.
The harsh environment actually contributes to their long lives. Their cells are densely packed and many resin canals form within the plant.
The author of the article stated, “Bristlecone pines in richer conditions grow faster, but die ealier and soon decay.”
Such trees aren’t a pretty to look at as their lowland relatives. The trunks are twisted and gnarled and may even resemble bonsai trees. The harsh living conditions are like natural pruners and shapers.
One such tree in California’s White Mountains has been nicknamed Methusaleh. Why? It’s estimated age is 4,700 years. Which if true, would make the tree a seedling while the real Methusaleh was alive on this earth. This particular tree is living above the 10,000 foot level.
These trees take advantage of two things that help them. One is that they are above the normal vegetation line thus they are shielded from forest fires than consume other types. Add to that a root system that attaches them so securely to the rock that only an earthquake can dislodge them.
So, we can ask ourselves. Are we a bristlecone pine? Thriving in adverse circumstances?
Carry Your Torture Stake
We as a Christians carry our torture stake, as Jesus said in Luke 14:27:
“Whoever is not carrying his torture stake and coming after me cannot be my disciple.”
To carry a torture stake is not an easy thing to do. Because a torture stake is 15 cm (6 in.) in diameter and 3.5 m (11 ft) long, it probably weighed little more than 45 kg (100 lb).
What might happen to us in our every day lives when we carry our stake?
After a while we wish to ease our burden by cutting the torture stake shorter. We may cut our stake a couple of feet shorter by leaving, for example, book studies from our weekly schedule.
It does lighten our stake. And we go further. After sometime we feel that we have to cut more from our stake.
We might do so when we make choices that prevent us attending regularly the Theocratic Ministry School and Service Meeting. But still, we always attend the Public Talk and Watchtower study every Sunday. Yes indeed, now our torture stake is rather easy to carry.
But what might happen to us in the future? Well, Armageddon will come.
Think of a situation that we have endured until the final thing just before we can enter into paradise. The last thing to do before paradise is that we only have to cross a ravine that separates this old system and the new system. And guess how wide is the ravine? It is almost 11 feet wide.
So, what we need to do now that we can in future enter into Paradise?
Cement in the Road
A man tells an interesting story. It appears that he was driving down an old country road that was sort of rough. Lots of potholes and bumps that jarred the traveler as he went along.
On the side of the road was a bag of cement. It appeared to have fallen from the back of a delivery van.
This particular man was not one who liked to see things wasted, so he stopped to retrieve the cement.
To his surprise, it turned out that the bag had solidified. Moisture had crept into the bag since it was lying exposed to the elements. The water had caused the cement to harden. So it was now useless.
Sometimes our lives can become like that bag. We can take a rather large hit from falling down over something and we begin to take on a new shape. One side is a bit flat now!
Then over time, we can become hardened into this new shape just like the cement.
Weathering Our Storms
Sometimes it rains. And then sometimes you get more rain. And when it gets really bad come the rainstorms. So bad that there is no visibility. The windshield wipers can hardly go fast enough. It can actually be pretty dangerous!
But have you ever noticed the way a flower seems bowed down and drooped over after weathering a storm? In a way its a touching sight. After all, that cloudburst likely sent countless animals and people far sturdier creations than any flower scrambling for shelter. Yet, the flower stood there, firmly rooted, facing the full fury of the weather.
Now, here it is after the storm, intact, leaning over but not broken, showing a strength that defies its delicate appearance. You may wonder, as you admire it, if it will come back strong and lift its pretty head up to the sky again.
Its much the same with people. We face all kinds of storms. Economic hardships, depression, failing health, the loss of a loved one those upheavals plague all of us at one time or another. And sometimes we can no more avoid them than that flower can uproot itself & run for cover. Things can weaken us. But at times like that – its motivating to see indivduals who may seem weak show surprising strength and endure those storms. How do they do it? One key is their deeply rooted faith. James wrote: “You know that when your faith succeeds in facing such trials, the result is the ability to endure.” — James 1:3, TEV
But faith in what? Or more importantly, in whom? We don’t have to face any storm alone! We can endure with Gods help…and just like the flower after the storm, be able to lift our heads up from varying degrees of weakness & find strength we need.
Can Pressure Make Us Stronger?
In 1935, Hoover Dam was built on the Colorado River in the Black Canyon, between Arizona and Nevada. It still is recognized as one of the nation’s civil engineering wonders. Hoover is an arch-gravity dam; that is, it is an arch laid over on its side. It is designed so that the more pressure is applied against the dam; the more it is wedged into the solid rock, the stronger it becomes.
That same principle finds its parallel in our relationship with Jehovah. Our lives are built upon the solid rock of faith, and the more pressure that is exerted against us, the more our lives will be wedged firmly into Him, and the stronger we become.
Trials and Tribulations
Take a piece of wax, a piece of meat, some sand, some clay, and some wood
shavings, put them on the fire and see how they react.
Each of them is being acted upon by the same agent, yet … the wax melts, the
meat fries, the sand dries up, the clay hardens, the wood shavings blaze.
Just so, under identical influence of circumstances and environment one man
is made better, and he becomes stronger, and another becomes weaker, while
another withers away.
This explains why one hears the Jehovah’s Word and is made better. Still
another hears the same thing and is made angry.
Not so much what is done to us, but what we do, determines our destiny. Take heed how you hear and act.
Put More Stress in Your Life
Refuse to take action on nagging problems. Procrastinate, brood, and if possible, lose some sleep over them.
Make a concerted effort to take note of irritations in your life and
blow them out of proportion.
Consider the power of negative thinking.
Hide your sense of humor. Erase the words smile, joke, and laugh from your vocabulary; concentrate on frowning.
If you’ve been working a 60 hour week, try 65 or 70 or 75! Spending more time at work will give you less time to consider how stressed you are.
Consume vast quantities of caffeine. As a stimulant it will ensure that you are awake day and night.
Practice the art of “hurry up and wait.” This means dashing off to
join a line-up somewhere – like the bank, cinema, or ticket outlet.
Make sure you drive no further than two feet from the car in front.
To relieve boredom while waiting for traffic lights, pretend you are on the starting grid for the Indy 500.
Never read a book or listen to music.
Play “Hide and Seek” by concealing important documents from yourself.
Delegate nagging problems. You’ve proved that you can’t deal with them.
Tell yourself that your abilities are unlimited. Do not waver from this conviction until you are fired for lack of competence.
Giggle nervously. It will make other people nervous, meetings will be unproductive and you won’t come away with a long list of things to do.
Find a disagreeable tennis partner. Perhaps your spouse.
When feeling stressful, breathe deeply and hyperventilate until you pass out.
Take up gardening. Nothing can be more stressful if you don’t like it.
When things are going badly, knock your head against the wall. The resulting headache will supersede the original problem.
Bar of Iron
A bar of iron worth 1 pound, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth 2 pounds. If made into needles, it is worth 70 pounds. If into penknife blades, it is worth 650 pounds. If into springs for watches, it is worth 50,000 pounds.
What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered and passed through the fire, and is beaten and pounded and
polished, the greater its value.
Oxford and Cambridge have now decided to remove the words CAN’T and IMPOSSIBLE from their dictionary. Jessica Cox, 25, a girl born without arms, stands inside an aircraft. The girl from Tucson , Arizona got the Sport Pilot certificate lately and became the first pilot licensed to fly using only her feet. Jessica Cox of Tucson was born without arms, but that has only stopped her from doing one thing: using the word “can’t.”
Her latest flight into the seemingly impossible is becoming the first pilot licensed to fly using only her feet.
With one foot manning the controls and the other delicately guiding the steering column, Cox, 25, soared to achieve a Sport Pilot certificate Her certificate qualifies her to fly a light-sport aircraft to altitudes of 10,000 feet.
She’s a good pilot. She’s rock solid,” said Parrish Traweek, 42, the flying instructor at San Manuel’s Ray Blair Airport . Parrish Traweek runs PC Aircraft Maintenance and Flight Services and has trained many pilots, some of whom didn’t come close to Cox’s abilities.
When she came up here driving a car,” Traweek recalled, “I knew she’d have no problem flying a plane.”
Doctors never learned why she was born without arms, but she figured out early on that she didn’t want to use prosthetic devices. So, the next time you are ready to tell yourself, “I can’t possibly…” remember this amazing young woman and change your vocabulary.
Part of her introduction:
Hello, my name is Jessica Cox. I am an international keynote speaker. Unlike most people, I was born without arms. I live a normal life using my feet the way other people use their hands. I drive with my feet. I was the first person without arms to get a black-belt in the American Tae Kwon-Do Association and the first pilot in aviation history to fly with her feet. I am convinced that how we react has a greater impact on our lives than our physical constraints.
Somewhere along the line, most of you have probably seen one of those ingenious stone tumbling machines at work. I hope you have — they’re incredible.
Pebbles of all sizes and shapes are placed inside a simple container; next you turn on a switch and the container begins rocking back and forth in a slow circular motion, forcing the stones to be shuffled one against another over and over and over again.
There is a soft monotonous chatter going on as this happens; the stones appear to abrade and jostle each other with easy abandon.
This intimate dance of stones continues all day, all night, all week, all month, all year. That’s how long it takes for the abrading, the rubbing, the tumbling to do its magic.
If you were to stand urgently by the machine for a weekend and wait for a quick result you would be deeply disappointed: one weekend is a mere blink in the polishing process. This is a long, long trip the stones are taking; it requires your most profound patience and respect. And if you are able to endure the passage of time without wincing, if you are able to listen to the low, ceaseless murmur of dancing pebbles, if you are able to relax and
let the gleaming unfold in its own slow inexorable way, in the end you find yourself the recipient of an amazing gift.
And I mean amazing. After endless months of non-stop, shoulder-to-shoulder roughhousing and cavorting, you approach the machine, turn off the motor, place a few stones in your hand.
And what have you got? Open the fingers. There they are.
Gems. With rough edges, barbs, and dullness gone forever, here is what remains: essence of Stone. Deeply burnished, glistening like fire, impossibly flawless stones are now warming the skin of your palm. You can’t bear to put them down: they are too sleek and beautiful.
And you stand there stunned, because no matter how much beauty you’ve seen before, you simply can’t get over this one single miracle. Before they were simply ordinary stones; now they are priceless. So the next time you tumble against a cloudy day, an edgy friend, a staggering debt, a hot dry patch of insult, or a wild burst of illness, remember the stones. Tell yourself: I will surrender to this tumbling and polishing and remember who controls the switch.
Because I am being polished. I am being shaved of self. I am being reduced to essence. I am being made a pure stone in the hand of God.
Like Water Skiing
If you’ve ever tried to water-ski, you know how the water seems to resist you before you get up on the surface. The boat’s engine roars, your muscles strain, and the water does everything it can to keep you down. But if you know how to take advantage of the boat’s power, you are lifted up and within a few seconds you are skimming over the surface of the same water that held you back at first.
Water-skiing provides an analogy to our Christian experience as we go through the deep waters of trial. We must learn to take advantage of Jehovah’s power. At first there is great struggle and effort as we hang on with all our might to some promise of God. The weight of our own weakness seems almost unbearable. But like the water that lifts the skis, our difficulties challenge us to draw on God’s supernatural power.
The apostle Paul put it like this: “However, we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the power beyond what is normal may be God’s, and not that out of ourselves”. (2 Cor. 4:7).
Have we been willing to learn this spiritual truth? Have we viewed the deep waters of trial as an opportunity to realize the supernatural power that first lifts us up and then carries us over those same waters?
Mosquitoes Are Everywhere
Do You have problems? For example, we can face unemployment, sickness or depression. Also we can suffer from our own weaknesses or some other difficulties which can heavily reduce our daily
energies and resources. What can we do? Has Jehovah abandoned us?
Well, Eph 5:15-17 and an illustration can help us. It says: “15
So KEEP STRICT WATCH THAT HOW YOU WALK is not as unwise but as
wise [persons], 16 buying out the opportune time for yourselves,
because the days are wicked. 17 On this account cease becoming
unreasonable, but go on PERCEIVING WHAT THE WILL OF JEHOVAH IS.”
The way of life is like a path in the woods. Though minority walks in the path of life, the mosquitos are all over in the woods. This means that problems which are common in this world confront us, too [unfortunately!].
So, what should we do? In the midst of these problems – mosquitos – we must KEEP STRICT WATCH THAT HOW WE WALK.
Some of the world’s most renowned women and men have had to
overcome disabilities and adversities that would have crushed a more fragile soul.
Like butterflies breaking out of cocoons, these great historical
figures struggled against – and rose above – the confines of
circumstances in a way that makes their achievements more remarkable.
While hardship alone does not produce genius, some might argue
that the “recipe” for true greatness includes a liberal dash of
Sometimes the source of the difficulty is medical. A child born
to a woman dying of tuberculosis became Marie Curie. Infantile paralysis
did not hold back Franklin D. Roosevelt. And even the loss of his
hearing could not diminish the great composer Ludwig von Beethoven.
Social and economic barriers are also real but not insurmountable. A child raised in abject poverty could become Abraham Lincoln or Enrico Caruso. Being born black in a society filled with racial discrimination did not stop Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Marian Anderson, Jesse Owens, or George Washington Carver from realizing their potential.
Educational barriers will not stop the truly gifted. Think of Albert Einstein. This genius was called a “slow learner,” “retarded,” and “uneducable.” And yet he lived to disprove them all.
Finally, multiple hindrances are not enough to hamper true greatness. A Jewish child, born of Nazi concentration camp survivors and paralyzed from the waist down at the age of four, grew to become the incomparable concert violinist Itzhak Perlman.
If these individuals worked so hard for their goal in this world, how much more so should we work toward our goal of pleasing Jehovah and having everlasting life because we worked hard to overcome our obstacles.
Have you ever traveled through the Carolinas and smelled the paper mills? The odor permeates the whole area so your nose tells you when you’ve reached “paper” country.
Have you ever toured a plant? What a contrast you will see between the filthy heap of rags that is going in versus the spotless white paper coming out the other end.
Consider what the rags have to undergo to reach their new condition. First they are shredded into little bits. That is next ground into a pulp and mixed with water to form a “slurry”.
Next comes the bleaching tanks. All the stains come out and the pulp is washed many times to remove all the dirt is gone. Then it goes back through the bleach again!
By now the fibers are white as snowflakes (or cream depending on the type of paper produced).
The next step is a wire cylinder that catches the fibers and shakes them.
Finally the pulp is pressed onto a flat surface and passed through very hot ironing processes. This removes the water and gives the paper its sheen.
Imagine the final product versus the beginning. Think of all the difficulties and compare this process to the Christian way of life.
It makes you understand the full meaning of James’ words at James 1:2-4.
Potatoes may be likened to people. Now, surely you’re wondering, how can that be?
Well when potatoes are harvested, they have to be spread out to sort them into sizes. This ensures maximum market dollar since larger “spuds” command a higher price.
The potato farmers in Idaho all use this method to bag their product. Spread them out, sort them and finally “bag em”.
All that is but one. He never appeared to sort his potatoes like everybody else did. But he always turned a good price by having bags with large “spuds”.
One of his neighbors finally asked his secret.
He said, “It’s simple. I just load up the wagon with potatoes and take the roughest road to town. During the trip, the little potatoes always fall to the bottom. The medium potatoes land in the middle, while the big potatoes rise to the top.”
People are like that too. Rough times sorts out the best and the worst of people.
By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity — another man’s I mean. — Mark Twain
A reasonable number of fleas is good for a dog. It keeps the dog from forgetting that he is a dog.
— Golfer Walter Travis
in a comment made following all the travails the British put him through when he won the 1903 British Amateur Open
Refusing To Accept Failure
Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953 he scaled the highest mountain then known to man-29,000 feet straight up. He was knighted for his efforts. He even made American Express card commercials because of it! However, until we read his book, High Adventure, we don’t understand that Hillary had to grow into this success.
You see, in 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed. A few weeks later a group in England asked him to address its members. Hillary walked on stage to a thunderous applause. The audience was recognizing an attempt at greatness, but Edmund Hillary saw himself as a failure. He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the mountain. He said in a loud voice, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow… but I’m still growing!”
Pressure is what enables a tunnel from collapsing from the water pressure above. Without that pressure many lives would be lost.
The same with us, if we expect to survive the pressure Satan places upon us we have to use pressure to counteract it.
Viking Ship Building
The ancient Vikings built ships renowned for their strength and ability to withstand the storms of cold northern seas. The planks which went into the keel were important, but most important of all was the mainmast, for it was the strength of this that meant surviving the storm or being lost at sea.
The secret of their unusual strength has been explained like this: “They had learned it wasn’t good enough to simply find any tree of the right height and circumference [for a mast]. Instead, they searched for trees with the correct dimensions that had grown on sites exposed to the storms blowing in from the open sea. Because the trees from exposed areas had withstood the buffeting of rough weather over the years, they were stronger and more flexible than trees from sheltered sites.”
Did you notice that the ancient Vikings found that the masts with the greatest strength were the ones that had weathered the storms? The fact of the matter is that conflict, trails, adversity, and challenges in our lives …. and our rising above these to still “grow” and stand tall, makes us more valuable. Its not so much the storm, as to how we survive it. Its a refining and purifying of the individual to have endured trials, and overcome the “storms”. Even Christ “learned obedience by the things he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). May we also rise to the full height of our Christian potential as full grown “trees”, tried and tested.
You’re Too Stressed When…
You can achieve a “runners high” by sitting up.
The sun is too loud.
You are missing several days from this week.
Trees begin to chase you.
You can see individual air molecules vibrating.
You wonder if brewing is *really* a necessary step for the
consumption of coffee.
You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that
you’ve said it before.
You can hear mimes.
Things become “very clear.” Everything is “very clear, indeed.”
You ask the drive-thru attendant if you can get your order to go.
Your heart beats in 7/8 time.
You and reality file for divorce.
You say the same sentence over and over again, not realizing that
you’ve said it before.
It appears that people are speaking to you in binary code.
You can travel without moving.
Antacid tablets become your sole source of nutrition.
You discover the aesthetic beauty of office supplies.
You begin to talk to yourself, then disagree about the subject, get
into a nasty tiff over it, lose, and refuse to speak to yourself for
the next day.