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.
Among the most spectacular aspects of nature for me are its colours.
I’m continually wowed by the vivid colours found in nature, such as the brilliant red plumage of the Northern cardinal.
The cardinal’s red feathers, which come courtesy of pigments, look the same when viewed from any angle. But there’s another source of colour in nature that is even more mesmerizing:
With iridescence, the hue of something changes when seen from different angles. You’ve probably experienced this shimmery optical phenomenon yourself when looking at certain insects, butterflies, birds, or even soap bubbles.
A good example of iridescence is the head of the mallard, a common duck found in the northern hemisphere. Its head appears to be a bright emerald green at first, but if you shift your angle of observation, it can appear green-gold, blue, or indigo.
It all depends on your perspective.
Maybe there’s a little lesson here for us.
If we shift our perspective about our own situations, we can see beauty that we didn’t know was there.
They say cooking is an art, but baking is a science.
Part of what makes baking scientific is that it often calls for exact timing.
When you cook a roast or a turkey in the oven, the estimated cooking time can vary. The meat will be in the oven for several hours, and the recipe might give you as much as a half-hour window to start checking for doneness.
But when you’re baking cookies, the recipe will sometimes only give you a two-minute span to remove them from the oven. You have to be on your toes so you don’t miss this window, but at least you have a greater degree of certainty as to when the baking process will be over.
We humans crave certainty, don’t we? And that’s especially true when we’re going through difficult things in our personal lives.
Wouldn’t you love it if God told us exactly when our time of suffering would end?
Sometimes, in the garden as in life, you have to be cruel to be kind.
Perhaps like me, you’ve started seeds indoors in late winter. I have a sunny spot in a front bay window where I put my trays of seeds.
I cover them while they’re germinating to keep them warm and moist. After they’ve sprouted, I check the seedlings daily in their protected nook and make sure they’re well watered.
Life for my little seedlings is sweet.
However, I’ve sometimes made the mistake of babying my charges too much. They then shoot up too fast and get “leggy”: their stems are tall but weak.
The problem with this is that when they’re transplanted outdoors, they won’t be able to cope well with the harsher conditions in the garden: the colder night temperatures, the wind buffeting them or the rain pelting on them.
What I need to do is subject the seedlings to a bit of hardship while they’re still in their trays indoors. So I’ve learned that I should blow on them or run my hand over them to simulate wind: this will strengthen their stems. I harden them off by gradually introducing them to greater temperature fluctuations and stronger sunlight. I let them feel a bit of cold.
The seedlings may not like what I’m doing to them, but my efforts will produce stronger plants that will have a better chance of surviving and thriving once translated outside. I do them no favours if I coddle them and leave them unprepared for the hardships they’ll face outdoors.
I think God does the same with us.
Sometimes He subjects us to unwelcome things in order to toughen us up and prepare us for what lies ahead. We may not like it, but He would be an unloving Father if He didn’t do so.
There’s a real art to translation: zeroing in on just the right words to convey the nuance of what the original author intended.
Done well, a translated work can be a masterpiece in its own right.
Oftentimes, though, a translation can turn out to be a farce, as in the following examples:
A menu item in Chinese for a roasted gluten dish was translated into English as “Sixi Roasted Husband.” (The perfect dish for wives who’ve finally had enough of their mates?)
A hot and spicy chicken dish on another Chinese menu became “Chicken Rude and Unreasonable” in English. (No wonder the chicken met his end—he had it coming!)
Or this Google Translate zinger: “It’s been the goat in the budget, because His raining badly, so quite short, he is on the bucket month out.” (Not sure what this meant in the original Danish, but I hope the goat was able to figure it out.)
Then there’s the sign for a hair salon in China whose English name is “Could Not Connect To Translator Service.” (A bit of a give-away that they didn’t bother hiring a real live translator?)
Sometimes, we have a different understanding or “translation” of what God actually meant in certain Bible verses.
I’ll bet most of us have seen a rainbow at some time in our lives, but have you ever seen a moonbow?
Frankly, until recently I didn’t even know such a thing existed. Moonbows, also known as lunar rainbows, are rainbows which are produced by moonlight rather than by direct sunlight. As such, they’re usually fainter than regular rainbows, and may even appear white.
But moonbows are still evidence of the sun’s presence, because they’re created by reflected sunlight bouncing off the moon. They’re a very special reminder that the sun is still shining, even when we can’t see it.
Sometimes I think God puts believing friends in our lives to function as “moonbows” for us.
Did you grow up in a family that hated wasting things? So did I.
Instead of throwing out old scraps of fabric, my paternal great-grandmother would twist the lengths and sew the resulting cords together into a rag rug. Nothing was wasted.
It was the same on my mother’s side of the family. Material from clothes that were no longer of use would be cut up and sewn into quilts. My Mom recalls sitting underneath the quilting frame as a child when her mother and other female relatives worked together at a quilting bee (Mom thought she was “helping” push the needle back up to the top surface). Even as a little girl, my mother learned an early lesson in letting nothing go to waste.
I must have inherited that trait.
I love recipes that not only produce a yummy result, but that are efficient. By that I mean that you’re not left with partly used cans of an ingredient that will languish in the fridge and eventually have to be thrown out.
I prefer a recipe that uses up the whole can of an ingredient, or, if it calls for 3 egg yolks for the batter, it also calls for 3 egg whites for the filling or a meringue (see cheesecake recipe below). Nothing is wasted. No leftover egg whites that you have to store until you think of another recipe that can use them up.
Likewise, I think God is efficient in how He manages our lives. He won’t waste anything we go through: it all has a purpose, even the negative parts.
Do you enjoy collecting things? Many of us do. Perhaps you collect stamps, vintage baseball cards, Barbie dolls, movie memorabilia, autographs or folk art.
Or maybe your hoard is a little more esoteric. You might specialize in collecting Cracker Jack prizes, Coca-Cola ads, thimbles, snow globes, or vintage fountain pens. These interests may be a bit more off the beaten path, but still within the realms of normal.
But it’s possible that your collection veers into the truly strange and oddball, like the following: