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In 1934, french entomologist Antoine Magnan and his assistant André Sainte-Lague calculated that it was aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly due to chaotic flapping and the hefty weight of its body.

Harry Baker, a spoken word performer, wrote a poem called the scientist and the bumblebee. In it he explores the relationship between something being proven and something being true. He says:

“The scientist said the bumblebee couldn’t fly,  
She lacked the wingbeats per minute or the necessary size, 
But the bumblebee in her ignorance proved him wrong, 
She knew she could fly cause she’d flown all along. 
Imagine if she’d listened to the man she might have stopped, 
Given up on the spot, tucked her wings in and dropped, 
So don’t ever let someone tell you what you can’t do,
Just because its proven doesn’t mean it’s true.”

As a bumblebee visited the spring flowers in my garden I was reminded of Harry Baker’s poem. I first heard the poem about 6 years ago and always loved the line ‘Just because it’s proven doesn’t mean it’s true’. I watched as the bumblebee haphazardly flew around, bouncing off the window and bumping into the watering can and narrowly missing leaves and flower stems.. 

As someone with a background in science I am well aware of the importance of proof. I am a black and white person, all or nothing, it’s absolutely correct or totally wrong. I struggle with grey areas yet I love the line ‘Just because it’s proven doesn’t mean it’s true’ that is a very grey statement! The scientist is so constrained by his graphs and numbers that he can’t look up and see the bumblebee flying around his room. On the other hand, the idea of the bumblebee not knowing that it had been proven that she couldn’t fly carrying on anyway is wonderful to me!

In Matthew 10 Jesus is sending out the twelve and in his instructions he says “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your fathers care…So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (vs29+31) 

Could a similar principle be applied to bumblebees? Are not bumblebees common in every garden? Yet God bends the laws of physics to allow them to fly! You are worth more than many bumblebees…will God not do greater things for you?!

Of course being a ‘good’ scientist I needed to fact check whether scientists had given up on proving the possibility of bumblebee flight!! And it turns there is now mathematical proof that bumblebees can fly! Kind of defeats the point of the whole article don’t you think?

Actually no! Many scientists have tried to prove that miracles weren’t miracles but scientifically proven events that could be repeated. 

According to some scientists the Red Sea that the Israelites crossed on their flight from Egypt wasn’t actually a huge body of deep water but a 6 inch deep ‘Reed’ Sea. Miracle dismissed?

In 6-7BC there were three convergences of the planets Jupiter and Saturn, meaning on three separate occasions Jupiter, Saturn and the earth would have lined up making it look like a bright star had travelled across the sky pointing to Bethlehem. There are also reports of a star having a supernova event that would have appeared above the Jerusalem area around the same time. So the wise men weren’t led by a single star to the place Jesus was born. Miracle dismissed?

I could go on but I have to say the more scientists ‘prove’ these miracles didn’t happen the more I am amazed at how God orchestrated them. 

Maybe the Israelites did cross the Reed Sea and just get their sandals wet, but how did the whole Egyptian army manage to drown in 6inches of water!? And maybe there were a number of astrological events that took place, in a specific order, leading the wise men from the east to Bethlehem. Is it not more amazing that all those convergences just happened to coincide with a supernova event at just the time a baby was born in Bethlehem? Oh and it was written about hundreds of years in advance hence the wise men were looking. 

Back to our humble bumblebee, Michael H. Dickinson and his colleagues at Caltech and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, have worked out the mechanism for bumblebee flight. Apparently bumblebees exploit some of the most complex flight mechanisms possible for insects. Their wings beat incredibly fast and in such a complex manner that they create miniature hurricanes around themselves and use the differences in air pressure within the hurricane to boost or drop their speed. Isn’t that incredible?!  

If God has given the bumblebee the ability to create and use hurricanes to fly what has he given you the ability to do!? Where does he want you to go? How does he want you to impact those around you? Mark 10:12 says “with God all things are possible.” Even if they haven’t been proven yet! Lets go into everyday life with the confidence of the bumblebee, to use the gifts God has given us, to create such powerful ‘hurricanes’ of the holy spirit that Gods kingdom is furthered wherever we go.

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