Sometimes nature can be a bit unpredictable—things happen in an order we wouldn’t expect.
Normally, plants put forth leaves long before they produce flowers.
But some trees and shrubs flip the script, so to speak.
With certain plants, the normal sequence is reversed: the flowers come first, before the leaves have developed.
A good example is the beautiful redbud tree. It puts forth gorgeous pink flowers on its bare branches in early spring, when none of its leaves are yet in sight.
The forsythia shrub bears its bright yellow flowers in advance of its leaves, and the lovely magnolia presents its pink or white blooms before the green foliage appears. Some maples and oaks also exhibit this flower-first behaviour, although with less showy blossoms.
All of these plants give us a treat in springtime when we’re starved for colour. We get the flower first without having to wait for the leaves.
Why do some plants reverse the normal order of things?
Some trees are wind-pollinated, so put forth flowers before their bulky leaves get in the way. The same goes for flowers that need extra sunlight. Other plants produce a mass of conspicuous flowers first, unobscured by leaves, to better attract the attention of pollinating insects.
Did you know that God also flipped the script and gave us the flower first, so to speak?
If you’re married, do you have a “date night” with your spouse?
Some people set aside time each week when they get together with their spouse, just the two of them, and do something special.
Life is so busy these days that we sometimes have to actually schedule time to spend with our spouse. We have to juggle work, raising children, community involvements, caring for aging parents, hobbies, and so on.
There are so many demands on our time that we often have difficulty making sure we’re giving enough attention to the person most important to us.
And besides, we know that our spouse is aware of our love for them. So we let things slide and don’t make the relationship a priority.
In this way, however, the bond between you starts to suffer. Without regular conversations and one-on-one time, a distance can start to grow in the relationship.
It’s the same with our relationship with God: we’re so busy with family and work commitments that we sometimes fail to fit Him in to our schedules.
Do you ever feel a bit shaky when you’re “up at bat” in life?
Sometimes we face daunting challenges, and don’t feel we’re capable of facing them on our own. We feel like we need a bit of help, someone who can take over for us when we’re at our weakest.
Someone like a pinch hitter.
In baseball, a pinch hitter acts as substitute who bats for a teammate. The pinch hitter might step in because the original player is injured, or when the one next up at bat is a less effective hitter, such as when a pitcher is worn out after six or seven innings pitching.
The manager might decide that the substitute has a better chance of helping their team to score, or may send in the pinch hitter to execute a specific play. In many cases, the pinch hitter will be called upon at a critical moment in the game.
Sounds like a handy person to have around, doesn’t it?
Did you know that believers have a heavenly “pinch hitter”?
This teammate who comes to your aid is the Holy Spirit Himself.
They say if you put a seashell up to your ear, you can hear the sea.
Maybe some people truly can.
With my luck, I’m more likely to hear, “Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line…” or, “How did you get this number?”
Sometimes it’s hard to tune in to what you really want to hear, isn’t it?
Similarly, it’s often difficult for us to hear God clearly.
There are so many other competing voices in our lives, and even our own thoughts can crowd out God’s attempts to get through to us.
We’ll discuss more about how to hear from God in future posts, but for now let’s concentrate on the most important tip:
Get under the dome.
What do I mean by that?
Perhaps I can best illustrate this by exploring a quirk in the construction of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, United Kingdom.