Contemplating Magnets

3:39 PM

Hello again, friends.

I hope your Tuesday is shaping up nicely. At the moment, I'm sitting here on my bed surrounded by half of my children. The younger half. The sleeping half.

I'm taking the opportunity to do my Bible study, write in my prayer journal, catch up on a few blogs and update a little bit in my own. 

I have lots of pictures to upload onto my computer from our recent Captiva vacation, but since they have yet to be uploaded, that post isn't happening today. Instead, I thought I would share with you a recent spiritual analogy that God opened my eyes to last week.

I've said it before, but it still holds true, so I'll repeat it: homeschooling my kids is as much a learning experience for me as it is for them. And being the consummate learner, I thoroughly enjoy this process.  

- Insert a funny side note here: Our home, built in 1935, has some neat elements like old French door/windows on the front and back of the house, one of which I recently noted has some water damage. Being "blessed" with an eye that immediately and without fail spots any and every flaw/problem/potential problem/thing to be fixed, I jumped on this and began my usual process of worrying about it/trying to address the issue. I also have water issues in my basement from a non-functioning French drain and it has led to high moisture levels in my basement and is affecting the wood in several spots. And it bugged me that I didn't know anything about wood or what to do about things.  So being the knowledge hungry girl I am, I checked out these two ginormous books on wood from the library. Even lugged them down to Florida with me, despite their hefty weight and decidedly non-beach-read subjects. My husband, Kyle, thought the whole thing was hilarious on several points - first, that I would check out such books and actually pour through them and secondly, that I would bring them on a beach vacation. Well. I like to know about things. That's all.

Back to my original train of thought, though. Learning things in home school. This year, for Brooklyn and August's science, we are learning about magnetism and electricity. And we are REALLY learning about it. They are doing all kinds of experiments and tinkering with things that I never did - even in college. It's extremely interesting, and yes, I have always loved science, but it's really interesting to them, too! 

Last week, we studied magnetism, and in particular, induced magnetism which is where a non-magnetic object becomes magnetized by another magnet.

The day we learned about this, a few hours later I was doing my Bible study and writing in my prayer journal - it's how I best express my thoughts, prayers and what's going on in my life, with the Lord. The focus of my study that day was exalting, magnifying, glorifying and praising God. Specifically, what each of those things means and how it translates to prayer. After studying the science things that morning, God's creativity and genius was fresh on my mind and I began praising Him for that. 

God uses different things to reveal Himself to people - different catalysts to draw them to Himself, to shake them up, wow them, reorient them. For me, science has always had that effect. God has always opened my eyes to see Him more clearly through scientific things and spiritual parallels, and this was one of those times. As I contemplated God's greatness and His amazing capacity to weave beauty and displays of who He is down into the teensiest particles of His creation, I suddenly saw with great clarity a spiritual parallel that blew me away. I'll share it with you. 

Magnets, as you know, attract metals.  Not all metals are magnets, however.  But a metal can become magnetized by another magnet, and it's called induced magnetism. The way this works is that you take the magnet and repeatedly stroke the metal object in one direction, like from the middle to its end.  After awhile, the non-magnetic metal object is itself magnetized. It now attracts other metal things. The way this works, as best as scientists are able to deduce, is because all metal items have these little domains in them. Little bundles of positive/negative charges that are ordinarily all jumbled up haphazardly in the metal.  Picture a little pile of dominoes. Or better yet, a big tangle of hair. The magnet stroking against the metal is like a big hairbrush slowly teasing out the tangles in the hair and re-ordering it to lie flat and smooth and orderly. The domains which were previously all jumbled, begin to lie flat and orderly in a very neat chain and it is this process of order that turns them into a magnet. Their charges are essentially lined up and they function like a magnet. 

Interestingly, this induced magnetism wears off.  In fact, it takes some metals longer to become magnetized than others. The metals that become magnetized faster actually lose their magnetic property sooner and those that take longer to become magnetic remain so longer.

The spiritual parallel that God showed me was this: God is like that big magnet and his followers (Christ-followers) are pieces of metal. Regular, continual exposure to God changes something in us and makes us magnetic to others. God touching us changes us - it reorders what is jumbled and messed up in us and straightens it out. When we are faithful to spend time with Him, it so changes us that we attract others to us by the sheer magnetic impact of God's touch and presence in our lives. 

However, this power or magnetism is not of us. In our own power, on our own strength, we lose the magnetic pull altogether. It is only the power of God changing us on a regular basis - the effect of God on us- that truly attracts people. It is also worth noting that we, once magnetized, will only be attractive to other metals, other potentially magnetizable objects. A magnetized metal will not attract a piece of wood or plastic.  

We are only magnetic to those who are capable of responding to that magnetic pull.  In other words, not everyone is going to respond to the power of God in us, no matter how strong that power is. They just won't. It isn't our fault. The Bible says that God knows those who are His - just as metal will always be metal and wood will never be metal. But WE don't know. We should never make assumptions about anyone because for all we know, every person we encounter is a potential metal. Only God knows whether they are or not. Our job isn't to make that call, only to be his induced magnet.

I find it also mind-blowing that just as we are "metals" once and for always - when we distance ourselves from God - the effect is that we lose our magnetism, but not our identity. God still sees our magnetic potential and knows we are metals (or His), but we have chosen to let the reordering power of His presence wear off. So we hold no attraction to those around us.

The lesson for me (and hopefully you) is that daily time spent with God is vital if we are to be of any great impact for God and the work of building His kingdom. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. With Him, we are changed in a powerful way.

But the basic reality of God is plain enough.  Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes, as such, can't see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse.
Romans 1:19-20 (the Message)

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