From 1991 – 1993 scientists embarked on a bold mission to replicate the world’s biological systems in an enclosed facility called Biosphere II. The Arizona-based experiment included a crew that lived in the “closed world” for two years. The crew grew their own food, did experiments, learned how to function together (that part of the mission did not go so well) and they tried to replicate the natural environment of plants and the other building blocks of life.
One of the notable problems with this “artificial” world was that the trees they planted indoors seemed to all fall down….and what was the culprit?
A lack of wind.
According to Columbia University, a one-time owner of BioSphere II, “Wind is also necessary for creating hardy and strong trees. When it was first created, there was no wind inside of Biosphere. Plants grew relatively quickly, but they frequently fell over before they were of reproductive age. After some intensive observations and experimentation, it was determined that the lack of wind created trees with much softer wood than that species would normally make in the wild. They grew more quickly than they did in the wild, but they were harmed in the long run as a consequence.”
In our culture, we seem to want to avoid problems at all costs…we play it safe and rarely venture out to the unknown…outside of our ‘bubble’. Yet, the consequences of avoiding challenges in life and not dealing with them makes us soft, like the trees in the BioSphere. In fact, it could be said that as a result of this lack of testing (wind) we never “grow into the fullness of who we are meant to be”….like a strong, mature tree. When we avoid challenges and tests, for a while, we look great….growing fast and tall….but in the end, without the adversarial winds of life…the trees fall down…and the richness of life lies flat. The to and fro of the wind is, in fact, needed to make us stronger, improve our resolve and help us face even tougher challenges to come.
When we step out in faith and try something new…like a new career, new relationship or join a new club, we will invariably hit a few brick walls. But the Bible in the book of Hebrews says “Believe steadfastly on Him and everything that challenges you will strengthen your faith.” (my bold)
I find that verse quite calming…..”believe steadfastly on Him”…..no matter what you may be going through in your life….all your challenges and tests can strengthen your faith and make you stronger – ONLY if you “believe steadfastly on Him“.
In Mark 16:15, Christ’s last command to us is: “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation”.
We will surely encounter challenges and trials as we leave our comfortable “bubble” and “go into all the world” to share His love and His message. Not everyone will welcome you. As you encounter lifes’ challenges be assured that the stretching and testing of your faith has a sublime reward…..
James 1:2 – 6 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (12) Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (emphasis added)
Oswald Chambers, a Christian writer, says:
Faith must be tested, because it can only become your intimate possession through conflict. What is challenging your faith right now? The test will either prove your faith right, or it will kill it. Jesus said, “Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me” Matthew 11:6). The ultimate thing is confidence in Jesus. “We have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .” (Hebrews 3:14). Believe steadfastly on Him and everything that challenges you will strengthen your faith. There is continual testing in the life of faith up to the point of our physical death, which is the last great test. Faith is absolute trust in God— trust that could never imagine that He would forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5-6).