Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Our role in managing nature

Despite of all the arrogance that human beings have, we are actually generally weak and incapable of doing anything without relying on God's blessings. We boast of being able to manipulate nature, yet even the most casual natural phenomenon is beyond our grasps to understand, let alone control.

One of the examples is the sowing and growing of plant seeds. Human beings sow plant seeds everyday for all kinds of uses. And no matter how casual they may seem, I have always found the sprouting of seeds and the growth of plants to be such an amazing phenomenon. The seemingly lifeless seed, which actually contains an embryo from which new life will emerge from, will stay “dead” until being in the right conditions.

Although we may say that we planted and grew the seed, the truth is, after planting them, besides doing our best to maintain good growth conditions, we are merely passive spectators which can only wait and watch the emergence of new life. We have no control whatsoever in deciding the success of growth, whether the cells of the embryo will divide or not, etc. Simply speaking, the whole sprouting and growing process is a witness to God’s supreme creative ability and authority.

Another example is the rain sent down from the sky, which is a blessing from God, because we all know that water is the source of life. It makes up 80% of the mass of our body, and without it, life will not exist. Although human beings have been trying to control rain, either to (strangely) withhold or induce it, like what they tried to do in 2008’s Beijing Olympics, the chances of success in doing so is very low. Showing that we have no control whatsoever to decide whether it will rain or not.

Thus when we think deep about the natural phenomenon around us, we can see how everything has been made automated, so well balanced and in place. This is also true for the phenomenon inside our own selves. The beat of our hearts, the process of breathing, the blinking of our eyes, the division of our cells, are all automated and beyond our control. We don’t think about doing them, let alone control them. Rather they are all automated, which are signs for people who think deep.

Pondering on these phenomenons puts our perspective in place, reminding us about how weak and helpless we really are as God’s creations. And in turn, hopefully enable us to learn to be humble and have gratitude with all of the blessings we do have.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Protecting growth by providence of good nurturing conditions

There are so many lessons in wisdom that we can extract from the occurrence of things around us. From simple things to the large phenomenon, all can provide parables for understanding the nature of this world.

I have recently been growing some safflower plants for my research, and noticed something which I find very interesting. All of the seeds were sowed and grown in almost the same conditions. Differing only in the intensity of the sunlight they received. Some of them got more sunlight than the others, which turned out to be a key factor in their vitality when being attacked by insects or fungi.

ALL of the plants were attacked by insects early in their growth, which made most of them sick throughout their lives. The sick plants of course didn’t grow well, being stunted or abnormal, and to make matters even worse, some of them even got infected by fungi. However, the plants which received good amount of sunlight remained healthy despite the attacks. Their favorable growing condition somehow made it easier for them to repel the effects of the insect attacks.

Nurturing conditions played an important role for the plants I grew. And I feel that this isn’t only the case for plants, but for all creatures, including human beings. There are many parables that can be seen from the observation. But for me, I immediately thought about my children.

With widespread moral decay in our societies, it’s the parent’s responsibility to ensure that their children are nurtured in favorable conditions. By doing so, the next generation will automatically have stronger self defense from the overwhelming negative influences that our societies have to offer.

We have to ensure that the family can be as nutrient rich soil for the plants. And make sure that adequate amount of prophetic guidance and noble character showers them as the sunlight helped the growth of the healthy safflower plants. Only by doing so, we can nurture healthy individuals who can withstand the negative influences all around us, and in turn transform what is around them for the best.