Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Vog of Preservation

Here on the Big Island we have "vog", a sulfur dioxide sort of acid haze emission, from our active volcano, Kilauea. The emissions have been unusually high the past few months and some people have been bothered with various symptoms, to a greater or lesser degree. When it's bad, usually at night and the prevailing wind blows down from the mountain, I'll get headaches; and tired eyes in the daytime. It seems the vog is putting the plants and trees into a kind of stress mode too. My garden helper says that's why more blooms than usual, they're trying to reproduce like crazy. We sometimes purposely traumatize our litchi trees here by girdling them to promote fruiting. Stress to achieve a result.

This is the first time I remember seeing money trees flowering. And, could that be a sign? Probably not, unfortunately.

All this brought to mind the history of Christianity - the fact that during times of persecution, massive conversions have taken place. The, humanly speaking, unbelievable faith and courage of believers was such a powerful witness of God at work in their lives, that people were drawn to Jesus, despite the ultimate cost. They were able to see that whatever in this life furthers the preservation of the one that really counts is worth it. And, in our individual lives, there are times when some great stress induces new growth or fruit. "...suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character..." Romans 5:3 The fact of suffering in no way negates the love of God, and in fact, may be because of it. "The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life." ( Psalm 121:7) is still valid - it is our life in him he is concerned about.

"When the hay is removed and new growth appears ..." Proverbs 27:25 That new growth won't happen without a cutting back.

"To see things as God does is to see them under the aspect of eternity." - Spinoza

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