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Hot Winds of Testing
By Joel Osteen - Oct 16, 2020
I read about the Biosphere 2 project that is located in Oracle, Arizona. Scientists originally constructed this big dome structure to be a miniature version of our planet. It was to be a closed ecological system used to study how the earth functions and to learn how we can make improvements without harming earth's biosphere. The researchers were surprised by how much faster trees grew in this biosphere, but before the trees reached their full height, they fell over. They realized the trees couldn't withstand their own weight because they hadn't replicated strong winds in this biosphere. Because it was always calm, the trees didn't have to withstand any pressure, so their roots didn't develop properly. They had a deficiency in what they call "stress wood," which is essentially the trees" reaction to wind. Stress wood helps the tree grow stronger and more solidly. Without it, the trees can grow fast, but they can't survive. The wind is essential for the tree to flourish and become what it was created to be.

It's interesting that in the Parable of the Sower, Jesus talks about the seed that falls in stony ground. He says the stony ground is like those who receive His word with joy, but their roots don't go down very deep. "They believe for a while, but they wilt when the hot winds of testing blow" (Luke 8:13). You can't become who you were created to be without going through hot winds of testing. Hot winds are when you feel overwhelmed, when you're doing the right thing but it's not improving. You're diagnosed with an illness, or your child is in trouble, or the pandemic hits and your business slows down. That's not just a random challenge or bad luck; you're in the hot winds of testing. How you respond in the difficult times will determine whether you come out bitter or you come out better.

Without these hot winds of testing, without storms, our life would be easier, but we wouldn't develop properly. We wouldn't be able to carry the weight of what God has in store. Don't complain about the wind; it's strengthening you. Those hot winds of testing can be uncomfortable, but your roots are going down deeper. Those winds are not there to break you; they're preparing you. You're developing courage, strength, and fortitude. Every day you stand, your roots are getting stronger. Every time you praise when you could complain, you're developing stress wood. When you keep doing the right thing when the wrong thing is happening, your core is getting strengthened to carry the full weight of God's blessing. Pass the test and stand tall and strong and flourishing.
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