While a multitude of animals play pedagogical roles in Scripture, birds are particularly noteworthy. The Lord utilized both a raven and a dove to speak to Noah in Genesis 8. He then used more than one crow to instruct Elijah in I Kings 17. And we also see a dove used to symbolize the presence of the Holy Spirit at Jesus’ baptism in Luke 3. Later, God used a rooster used to convict a wayward Simon Peter in Mark 14. It seems that birds are particularly useful to our Heavenly Father when He decides to educate us.
Thus, it is not surprising that the Lord used a bird or two to speak to me this week.
It all began a few months ago when a single hawk took up residence in our yard. As I wrote about in my post titled WHAT WE OUGHTA! back on March 12 of this year, a single hawk sent from the Lord appears to have taken up residence in the woods in our yard.
I soon took notice of his presence – no doubt as God had intended. He was a patient and skillful hunter, alighting and positioning himself to wait patiently, often for hours, before eventually swooping down upon some hapless squirrel or rabbit. Clearly, he was laying claim to his own newfound territory.
Shortly thereafter, another hawk appeared. Now there were two – one larger and one slightly smaller. Together, they systematically set about establishing a home together; and in short order, a huge nest, composed of sticks and straw, appeared in the very top of one of the tallest trees in our yard.
Thereafter, it was a fairly common sight to see the larger of the two hawks flying in with either a snake or a mouse in its talons, bringing nourishment to the smaller of the two as she sat perched atop what was obviously a clutch of eggs in their treetop abode.
It wasn’t long before the inevitable occurred. Multiple screeches soon flooded the air as at least two chicks made their appearance alongside their parents. As the days unfolded, the chorus quickly became a crescendo. The whole family seemed to exult in a common refrain.
But it quickly became obvious that they had more in mind than merely sounding off. Three times in the last two days - once while walking back form the mailbox and twice while cutting grass - I happened upon at least two hawks on the nearby ground. In each case, the smaller of the two was situated adjacent to the larger, which had his wings spread atop what was obviously a fresh kill. Clearly, “dear old dad” was instructing junior in the art and science of acquiring sustenance.
All of this leads me to my point. How ironic is it that all of this occurred on Father’s Day weekend?! Surely, in all these things, the Lord was reminding me of the role of a faithful father!
As I have reflected on this, I have been reminded of how blessed I am that the Lord gave me a father who acted much the same. He came of age, left home, and stood on his own two feet, long before he met and pursued my mother. Thereafter, he married her and established a home with her. The two of them then bore children, and set about rearing them in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In due time, their children (of which I was one) learned to fend for themselves and to survive in this world.
What more could I have asked? For that matter, what more could any person ask of a father?
I hope my own three children will one day reach similar conclusions about me. I hope they will do this for no other reason than that that they too will have come to see that I was faithful as a father to do what was rightfully to be expected of me, by them and by God.
That is to say that I first staked my claim to some small part of this world, that I then met and wooed their mother with passion, that I then founded a home together with her, that I then sired the children God intended for me, and that thereafter, I faithfully reared them as God would have me to, and in the process, prepared them, not only to survive, but to thrive in this world.
Assuming they reach any such conclusion, I will be honored. More to the point, God will be glorified; and my children (and grandchildren) will all be edified.