They’re Back!

Our birds are back! We’ve seen robins, house finches, downy woodpeckers, rufus-sided towhees, starlings, hoary redpolls, mourning doves, Oregon juncos, Canada geese, and the swallows should be here any day. I have a log to record when our birds arrive each spring and it is quite amazing to see how close to the same time each year they arrive, especially when you realize that some have traveled for thousands of miles to get here. The black-polled warbler, for example (though we don’t normally get to see them here) migrates from Alaska to Venezuela each year, a distance of 5,000 miles, traveling non-stop in the autumn and back in the spring. It doubles its weight from 1/2 to 1 ounce in the fall and then waits for a low pressure system before heading out, knowing that afterwards there will be strong winds blowing southeast. When it reaches the New England Coast, it moves up to 3,000 feet elevation to catch trade winds to Venezuela!

     There’s even one bird, the bar-headed goose, whose migratory route takes it over Mount Everest and the Himalayan mountains. They carry no food or water, no oxygen, no winter survival gear! Our Creator’s incredible skills are surely displayed in this amazing bird, which navigates the air over the Himalayas at 30,000 to 33,000 feet. The oxygen concentration at this height is a little more than one-quarter that of sea level–not enough air for kerosene lanterns to burn, helicopters to hover, or people to breathe, yet this goose remains fully conscious and faithfully flies over the Himalayas twice each year, a journey which takes many hours. The bar-headed goose breeds in southeast Russia and western China but travels to India and northern Burma for the winter. So why doesn’t it just fly around the mountains or snake its way through them using river valleys, like the majority of other migratory birds in the region? I believe this goose has been given the titanic task of showing us, in a visible way, that Christ can, and will, sustain his creatures through all difficulties as His hand leads and upholds this bird. God made this amazing goose with larger than normal wings, lungs that inhale greater than normal amounts of air, and blood containing a special type of hemoglobin that carries higher-than-normal levels of oxygen to its tissues and organs. He also designed this bird to produce a lot of heat when it flies, helping prevent the wings from icing up. With a little help from tailwinds, the bar-headed geese make the trip from Tibet to India–more than 1,000 miles–in a single day!  By using tailwinds, the geese capitalize on weather that would pulverize lesser creatures. These geese are powerful flappers, with huge wings, pointed to reduce wind resistance. They can fly more than 50 miles an hour on their own power and they really move if they can add the thrust of 100-mile-per-hour tailwinds. Able to gauge and correct for drift, bar-headed geese can even fly in cross-winds without being blown off course.
     What an amazing design of our “Intelligent Designer,” the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ with whom “all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26). God shines His glory in the farthest reaches of the earth–even where life’s presence seems utterly impossible. Fish with brilliant colors have been found in some of the deepest parts of the ocean where no light can even penetrate? So why the colors? Simply because God sees them and He chose to display His creative beauty in them.  Evolution has no explanations for such examples as these.  Rather than try to determine how and why these things may have evolved as they did–and there are no possible answers–why not just believe that they are the handiwork of our all-wise, all-powerful, Creator. “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14).  The answer is NO!  God has not only designed some amazing creatures with mind-boggling features, but can sustain them as well, even guiding them on thousands of miles of migratory routes.
     Every species of God’s creation, upon examination, has things about it that could never have happened through the time and chance processes of evolution, features that God designed either for His and our pleasure, or for the creatures survival. Male ducks, for example, after a mate has been won and a family successfully launched, lose their gaudy coloring, which was used in attracting their mate. Their fine breeding raiment is shed and replaced by a drab plumage, making them less conspicuous. For, like other birds, ducks lose all their wing pinions at one time, and are left flightless, and must lie low for several weeks. Their drab plumage helps to conceal them in their grassy environment. Later, with the growth of new wing pinions, their brilliant plumage returns and they are ready, in all their splendor, to take off on their annual migration route!  Isn’t our God amazing!  We can proclaim with the Psalmist, “O LORD, how many are Thy works.  In wisdom Thou hast made them all; the earth is full of Thy possessions” (Psa. 104:24).
     Job challenges us with these words: “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. Or speak to the earth and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you. Who among you does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10). As you look at the wondrous design of our Creator, and how He provides for his creation, think about how much He must love for and care for us. Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are numbered. Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Mt. 10:29-31).
                                                                                                                        Forever His,
                                                                                                                                   Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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