I have to give my sister credit for this one. We were talking on the phone a few mornings ago. She is in New York visiting her daughter, my niece, Jacque. Apparently the part of New York where my niece lives (Long Island) produces hydrangeas in abundance. I can’t even get mine to bloom! My sister told me that Jacque went into the yard one afternoon to cut some hydrangea blossoms, and brought them into the house and put them in a vase of water. They quickly drooped, and by the next morning they were gone. That is when my sister gave Jacque a tip our grandmother had given us. She always cut her roses in the morning and quickly put them in the bucket of water she carried. Jacque followed this procedure the next morning and the hydrangeas lasted for days.
I became curious about why this technique works so well. I’m so glad I live in the Google age, because one can research anything. And I can’t pick up the phone and call my grandmother anymore. It seems that early morning is the best time to cut flowers because they have had the benefit of a cooler night and their stems are full of water and carbohydrates. As the day heats up, flowers lose moisture, their stems are less firm, and the blooms become limp. They have a hard time recuperating when they are cut and brought into the house.
So as my sister and I were talking about our grandmother’s advice, she pointed out the parallel of having a quiet time early in the morning, before the day heats up. I know my day goes better when I start it with the Bible and a conversation with God. And many times, if I don’t do it in the morning it just doesn’t happen. There are too many distractions during the day. I am reminded of the last part of Proverbs 8:17: those who seek me early shall find me. There are other places in Scripture that encourage us to be still and alone with God before our day gets hectic.
I knew there had to be a physiological reason why God would tell us to seek Him early. So again I did a little research on one of my favorite subjects, the brain. I found out that our brains are actually bigger in the morning! Researchers using MRI scans found that the brain shrinks during the course of the day, returning to its full size the next morning. What causes the brain to shrink? Dehydration! Just like hydrangeas, the brain loses water during the day. And at night our brains rehydrate. Think of a sponge. When it is dry it is not nearly as big (or useful) as it is when it is fully hydrated. One theory of this mechanism is that fluids from the lower parts of our bodies are redistributed when we are lying down. Another explanation is that the time of day has something to do with hydration.
Our brains are about 85% water, and brain function depends on having that water. Water is necessary for the brain’s production of hormones and neurotransmitters, and essential for removing toxins. When our brains are fully hydrated, we are able to think faster, be more focused, and experience greater clarity and creativity. We are more alert. And who knows this better than the God who created our brains. Maybe that is why he encourages us to seek Him early, when we can concentrate, when we can fully attend His word, when we can hear Him.
Isn’t our God amazing?
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” – Psalms 5:3