And the feelings of joy and gratitude at your good fortune would last for a long time, wouldn’t they?
Um, maybe not.
Researchers have discovered that positive feelings following a stroke of good luck soon subside and return to baseline. By the same token, people eventually adjust back to their baseline after some misfortune has befallen them.
This phenomenon is called “hedonic adaptation.” Whether your situation is good or bad, you get used to it.
I wonder if something like this happened to the children of Israel after being freed from slavery in Egypt.
Did you know that some birds and bees can see things that are completely invisible to us? They’re able to see in infrared, just beyond the wavelengths of the visible light spectrum that human eyes can detect.
What looks to us like a regular pink flower might resemble a helicopter landing pad to a bee. Where we see only the uniform expanse of one colour, the bee may see a target-shaped design involving different colours. The bee’s infrared vision allows it to home in on the most nectar-rich part of the flower.
The world looks completely different when you can see in infrared.
I sometimes think that God sees us in “infrared.” He can see things in us that are invisible to others, and even to ourselves.
Has your head been spinning with all the changes the world has undergone in the past several years?
We stumble through one crisis, only to find another totally unexpected one emerge. We wonder if life will ever truly be the same again.
It’s at times like these that we need something that never changes, much like conifers.
During the winter, when deciduous trees are bare, I’m thankful for coniferous trees. These loyal friends, like the spruces, pines and firs, still have their mantle of green, which they’ll keep year-round. These silent sentinels might not be flashy, but we can count on them not to change.
God’s character is like that, too.
When the world seems to be in turmoil, and life is changing in ways that are distressing and unpredictable, we need something unchanging to hold on to. That something is our eternal Heavenly Father.
For those of you who live near a large body of water, or who might be visiting one during the summer, what are some important things to remember when spending a day at the beach?
Remembering to apply sunscreen is definitely important. So is bringing snacks, a blanket to lie on, and perhaps an umbrella to sit under. Maybe a toy bucket and shovel for the kids to play with in the sand.
But isn’t there something more important than all of those?
How about remembering to pay attention to the lifeguard?
If you’re visiting a public beach by an ocean or large lake, there will probably be a lifeguard station there. Lifeguards will be in place at intervals on raised platforms above the sandy shoreline. If the lifeguard tells you the undertow makes it unsafe to swim in the water, obey his or her instructions.
There will also be rules set forth on signs along the beach. To have an enjoyable and safe day at the beach, it’s important to obey those rules. Stay within the boundaries of the supervised areas. Pay close attention to the warning flags.
The rules are there to protect you.
It’s the same with God, isn’t it? He has set forth rules for us in His Word, the Bible. He wants us to stay within His boundaries in the way we behave. He wants us to obey His instructions, because they’re for our good.
When you let your mind wander, do you ever find yourself asking odd questions?
Such as, “Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?”
Or, “How do you grow a seedless fruit?”
Or how about this one:
“Why don’t spiders get caught in their own webs?”
I can’t help you with the first two, but I do have an answer for the third.
When spiders build their webs, they draw out silk from their abdomens with six spinnerets. The key is that they’re able to emit different types of silk for different purposes.
The spider first constructs a frame for its web. Then, it lays down spokes of non-sticky silk to use as walkways.
Next, the spider weaves spirals of connecting lines between the spokes using sticky silk. This is for ensnaring small insects that it will later eat. The spider knows to avoid walking on these gluey strands.
A spider can also spin stretchy silk for the centre of its web, or extra-strong silk for the anchor lines.
Whichever type of silk the spider decides to spin, it all has a specific purpose. And even though the types of silk differ, they all come from the same source.
I think we can borrow this analogy to describe how we can receive quite different things from God’s hand.
As I sat eating breakfast, I could see the moon shining brightly through the window. It handily outshone the streetlights, which were still on at that pre-dawn hour.
But slowly, the moon grew dimmer and fainter, although it was still high in the sky.
What had happened to its luminosity?
Had the moon changed in some way?
No, the sun had simply come up!
The sun’s growing brilliance filled the morning sky, causing the moon to appear paler than before. Eventually, I could barely see the moon at all, even though it hadn’t set behind the horizon yet.
This puts me in mind of how we sometimes view our problems.
In the darkness of our difficulties, we often focus on what’s causing us pain. The source of our problems gets our attention, out-competing other factors in our lives.
But if we let the light of Jesus shine on our situation, the truth of His unending love for us can outshine the temporary nature of our problems. Our challenges appear dimmer in the light of His forgiveness, His care for us, and His promise of eternal life.
Perhaps you squeezed the “mouth” of a snapdragon flower to make it “talk.”
Or maybe you held a buttercup underneath the chin of a friend. If it reflected back a yellow colour, it meant that they liked butter (apparently, everyone does!).
Probably one of the most famous flower games involves the daisy: it’s considered the oracle of affairs of the heart. The daisy supposedly has the ability to tell you if your sweetheart truly loves you or not.
It goes like this: you pluck off each petal of a daisy in turn, and as you do so, alternately say, “He loves me,” or “He loves me not.”
The final petal tells you which statement is true.
You’re left in suspense the whole time, and worry about what the last petal will reveal.
I know this is just a children’s game, but even as adults we sometimes worry if we’re truly loved, don’t we?
Human love can be a fickle thing, and we can often be unsure about the commitment and loyalty of those we love.
That’s why it’s so good to know that with Jesus, we’re never left wondering whether He loves us or not. He never leaves us in suspense as to whether He cares.
When you’re in trouble, hearing the sound of help coming can be music to your ears.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident or have been the victim of crime, the sound of emergency vehicle sirens approaching gives you a welcome sense of reassurance.
If you’re in a jam and need help from a friend or family member, it’s such a relief to hear the sound of their voice on the phone saying, “I’m on my way.”
If your city was brought to a standstill by a massive snowstorm (as mine was last week), hearing the sound of municipal snowplows entering your neighbourhood to finally clear the streets can almost bring tears to your eyes.
It’s good to know that help is on the way, isn’t it?
The Bible tells us that when we’re facing difficulties, we can count on God to be there for us and help us.
Do they dream in pictures, or in sensations and sounds?
Researchers tell us that it depends on when they lost their sight.
The brains of those who went blind after ages five to eight will have received a lot of visual inputs during the years when they could still see. These individuals are able to form visual dreams using the images stored in their memory banks for a good while after they’ve lost their sight.
People who are blind from birth are different, researchers say. The brains of these individuals have no visual images to work with, so they don’t dream in pictures like the rest of us. Instead, their dreams are based on input from the other senses: sound, taste, smell, or touch.
The upshot is that the blind can only dream using the inputs they’ve received.
Isn’t this true for all of us, in a way?
We can only dream about achieving or receiving things based on the examples that have been “inputted” into our minds. If we have never seen a real-life example that something is possible, we’ll probably never dream about it for ourselves.