Well, even though we still have lots of big snow banks, we do have some bare spots showing up (like over the septic tank!) and the calendar says spring just returned and as further evidence, many of our birds are back. The geese have been back for some time and over the past week or two the starlings, crows, robins, Oregon juncos, a variety of sparrows, and our beautiful rufous-sided towhees have returned. We have a feeder in the back yard and try to identify all the birds that show up there and when over the course of a year they arrive. It’s fun to compare the dates when they appear each year. Most are within a few days on their return dates. We have a list of around 60 different species that either spend much of the year here or stop over on their way through.
It would be fun to know where each bird has been over the year between making appearances here. Ornithologists have studied the flight patterns of most migrating birds and it is just amazing to consider the miles they cover in their migratory routes and how they find their way. The black-polled warbler, for example migrates from Alaska to Venezuela—5,000 miles—non-stop in the autumn and back in the spring. It doubles its weight from 1/2 to 1 ounce before it heads out. It waits for a low pressure system in the fall, knowing that afterwards there will be strong winds blowing southeast. When it reaches the New England coast, it moves up to to 3,000 feet elevation to catch trade winds to Venezuela. Wow!
Then there is the bar-headed goose which lays claim to the title “Highest-Flying-animal.” This tenacious bird actually migrates over the Himalayan mountains! The birds carry no food or water, no oxygen, no winter survival gear—yet there they are, higher than any creature should be. Some of our Creator’s most incredible skills are displayed in the bar-headed goose enabling it to navigate 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 hours. The goose breeds in southeast Russia and western China but travels to India and northern Burma for the winter. Why doesn’t it just fly around the mountains or snake its way through them using river valleys, like the majority of the other migratory birds in the Himalayan region? I believe this goose has been given the titanic task to show us, in a visible way, that Christ can, and will, sustain His creatures through all difficulties. Christ’s construction of this bird includes 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. God also designed this bird to produce a lot of heat when it flies which prevents its 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 mph on their own power, and can really move out with strong tail winds–around 100 mph. Able to gauge and correct for drift, bar-headed geese can even fly in cross-winds without being blown off course—totally amazing.
Needless to say, there is no way these geese evolved over time to be the wonderfully designed creatures that they are. The only explanation is that they were designed and constructed by our all-wise, all powerful Creator God, the Lord Jesus Christ. As you examine the thousands of other creatures that our Lord created, you discover similar, mind-boggling evidence for the amazing handiwork of wonderful Creator. How sad that the majority of mankind continues to deny creation and credits it all to time and chance, coming up with un-provable theory after theory of how it all began and evolved over billions of years. It is definitely not for lack of evidence, but rather that man does not want to acknowledge the existence of God to whom he is accountable. In writing to the believers at Rome, the Apostle Paul said, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them (conscience); for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds, and four footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie (evolutionism), and worshiped the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen” (Ro. 1:18-25).
Many of the issues that the church (all believers) face today such as marriage being between one man and one woman, homosexuality, transgenderism, etc. are explained by this passage in Romans. It is because men have suppressed the truth about God and creation and substituted humanism and worship of creation over worship of the Creator. We are reaping the consequences of man’s failure to honor God or to give thanks. Unfortunately we have many intelligent people—“professing to be wise”— today who have become “fools.” Tragically they are indoctrinating our children and young people with their atheistic, evolutionary views and destroying the hope and significance and security and identity that comes from acknowledging God our Creator and coming to have a personal relationship with Him through faith in His work on our behalf at Calvary.
Today, as you observe the creation around you, be sure to acknowledge whose handiwork it is and give thanks. “O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth!” (Psa. 8:9).