Earth’s hydrological cycle (or “water cycle”) is absolutely essential to life on this planet.
Surface water is drawn up into the atmosphere by the sun (evaporation). Then comes the process of condensation. In this process, water vapor is changed to tiny droplets of liquid water.
In the final process, precipitation, these tiny droplets of water bind together to form raindrops, snow, and hail. This allows the dense clouds above the earth to give forth rain and snow to water the planet. Every year 121,000 cubic miles of water pass through the earth’s hydrological cycle of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.
But in order for the hydrological cycle to work and to sustain life, something undesirable must be present in our air. What is it? Air pollution.
Yes, without some measure of air pollution (large amounts of airborne particles of dust, clay, soot (from smokestacks or internal combustion engines), salt particles, volcanic ash, smoke, sulfur dioxide, etc.) the tiny droplets of water vapor will never coalesce, or bind together. Meteorologists refer to these necessary particles of pollutants as hygroscopic nuclei. They trigger the formation of raindrops, snowflakes, and hail. Rain would not be possible without these air pollutants. Indeed, most life on the earth’s surface would not be possible without these pollutants.
Interesting! Something we astutely believe “doesn’t belong” in our world is actually essential.
You know, we all yearn for air in its purest and most pristine form—“the way God meant it to be,” we say. And similarly, we yearn for lives that are free of blemishes, irritants, and things that mar our happiness. But that is not the way God intended it. God has ordained that this life be a mixed bag of good and bad, of pleasant and unpleasant, and of things that sooth and others that irritate. As pollutants are essential to earth’s hydrological cycle and the formation of rain, even life’s unpleasant ingredients are essential to our spiritual life and growth.
This life is heaven’s dressing room, the place where God prepares us for eternity. As those tiny airborne particles of dust, dirt, and crud trigger the blessing of life-giving rain, so the discomforts of this life trigger God’s spiritual blessings to fall upon us. Life’s irritants and disappointments ultimately turn us to God and make us fit for heaven.
Do you recall the Scripture in 1 Peter 4:12–13? “Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange was happening to you. Instead, rejoice that you participate in the suffering of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”
And again the Scripture tells us, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there who is not disciplined by his father? … No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:7, 11).
Yes, a measure of pollution has its necessary place in our air. Without it the blessings of rain will not fall. And just as sure, discomfort and pain have their place in our lives. They precipitate God’s blessings upon us by fostering our spiritual growth and transformation into His image.
Dear Father in heaven, thank You for the hills I climb and the dark, lonely valleys I tread. Help me to accept adversity as Your means of training me and making me more like Jesus. Help me to see Your message of love in the pains and discomforts I suffer this day. Amen.