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Resonance

Resonance is a scientific concept that applies to both the macroscopic world (things you can see) and the microscopic world (things you can’t see).  It is a principle that allows us to get a lot of effect out with just a little bit of effort put in.  Who doesn't want that?  It works for any kind of wave or oscillation, like sound or light or any other kind of regular movement.  We say phrases like "that resonates with me."  But, what does that mean exactly?  Let’s look a little more closely at what resonance is.

Resonance happens with waves, and since all waves are vibrations, resonance has to do with vibrations.  Vibration is just a fancy word for shaking something in a regular manner.  Another word for that is oscillating back and forth.  So basically, we can define resonance as follows:  When you shake something in the way that it wants to shake, it shakes a lot.  When you shake something in a way that it doesn't want to shake, it doesn't shake much.

So, if we put a little bit of energy in in the way something wants to shake, we get a lot of movement out.  But, if we put a lot of energy in in a way it doesn’t want to shake, we see very little if any movement out.

How does it Work?

Many may have seen a wine glass breaking when just the right note is struck.  This is an example of resonance.  Here is a good short video with an explanation of how it works with resonance.

Reference source: YouTube

Resonance is like pushing a child on a swing.
Resonance works just like pushing a child on a swing.  We don't push all the time, only when the swing comes back to us.  If we tried to push more, it would only make it harder, and have less effect.  We would be running all over the place trying to catch the swing to push it.  When we did push the swing, it would go all over the place, and never get anywhere.  So, we are patient and wait for the right point in the cycle to add a little bit of force.  We have to go with the natural motion.  We let the swing’s motion tell us when to push.  Then, the small swings easily turn into large swings.

The swings can even get large enough to go all the way around, if the child doesn't freak out first.  But, we don't have to put in any more energy when there are large swings than when there are small swings.  We put in the same small push each time and resonance makes the movement larger and larger.  It's all about timing.  It has nothing to do with how much work you put in.  We get the most effect by patiently waiting for the right timing to put in a small effort.

Three Examples

Resonance is easy and restful.  Check out these three videos.  In this first one, the man is randomly hitting the weight bag with a large amount of force using a baseball bat.  But, even though he is using so much force and hitting it all the time, the bag isn't going anywhere.  He is getting all worn out from working so hard and yet seeing no effect.  If he kept it up, he would be in danger of getting burnt out.  Does that sound like religion to anyone?  How many people work themselves to death and rarely see any improvement?  Some have said it can also sound like parenting teens or counseling someone.  These problems arise because we are not taking advantage of resonance.

In this second video, the man is pushing gently at just the right times.  Then, the bag swings more and more until it almost breaks the beam it is hanging on.  The key is timing.  The push has to be at the same point in the cycle every time.  Then, all the little pushes add to each other and create a big oscillation.  In the first video, all the random big pushes fought against each other and canceled each other out, so the bag didn't move much.  And, when it did, the bag moved about randomly and couldn't get on track to making any kind of progress.  But, when we take advantage of resonance, small pushes with rest in between create a big movement in the right direction.

In this third video, we see the same timing of the pushes, but now the man is using a lot of force by using the baseball bat.  However, we see about the same amount of movement in the weight bag.  So, it is really a waste of effort to put in more effort, since the smallest amount will do.

Large random hits accomplish nothing. 

Reference source: YouTube

Small well timed hits produce a large movement.  

Reference source: YouTube

Large well timed hits are the same as small hits. 

Reference source: YouTube

Application

The smallest encouraging word at the right time does way more good than all our religious busywork and best efforts wearing ourselves out.

Proverbs 15:23 NASB

A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!

Isaiah 50:4 NKJV

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to [him who is] weary. He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.

When we are fighting with the natural way something wants to move, we don't see any effect.  All our effort is actually counter acting itself and being wasted.  The more we try to force circumstances or people to move or change on our time table, the less effect it has and the more worn out we get.

However, when we give a simple encouraging word at the right time, we see lots of effect.  It's all about the timing of when to move and when to rest.  If only we could figure this out in life, how much easier would life be?  If we can find the right time to put a little bit of energy in and then have patience and rest and wait until the next right time, then we will see large effects.

John 5:19 NIV

Jesus gave them this answer: "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does."

John 12:50 NIV

I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.

If we do what God tells us to do when He tells us to do it, we will always be taking advantage of resonance.  We will know what the right timing is and how much effort to put in.  We will also know when to rest and wait.  It would be impossible for us to know what to do and when for all our circumstances and relationships.  But, God always knows exactly what to do and when to do it.

We can also start paying more attention to the people in our lives and our circumstances to see the natural rhythms.  Let them tell us what the natural cycle is rather than trying to force something on them or on our circumstances. We have to go with the flow, the natural momentum, and natural rhythms so we can experience the easy and light life that God has promised us.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.