Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jewel # 70 (Oct 19, 2010)

To my dear grandchildren,

The Wandering Albatross

"Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Thy glory be above all the earth." (Psalm 57:5)

Over the centuries, sailors traveling on the southern oceans have been surprised to find a lone albatross here or there.  Sometimes they are hundreds or even thousands of miles from land.  Many have thought these large birds must have been blown out to sea by storms and couldn't find their way back, but this is not the case.

From the beginning God has given these birds a remarkable sense of direction.  Although they may seem to wander aimlessly, apparently they are never lost.  They just seem to enjoy being out over the wide ocean expanses.   God has given them long, strong, pointed wings with a spread of eleven feet.  This allows them to glide great distances for long periods of time.  They spend many months away from land, coming to land only to breed.  It is assumed they sleep while gliding.  When hungry, they drop down to catch a fish; when thirsty, they drink seawater.

An interesting project during the Pacific War shows their sense of direction and ability to fly great distances.  The U.S military established a huge air base at Midway Island in the Pacific, but immediately found this was a favourite area for hundreds of albatrosses that then interfered with air traffic.  The decision was made to capture and remove them.  In cages, some were taken to the Phillippines, over 4000 miles away, some to Whidbey Island in Washington State, more than 3000 miles away, and some in other directions.  All were banded and released so they could be identified if seen again.

And they were seen again, as all eventually returned!  It was estimated they flew about three hundred miles per day in returning to to Midway.  How did they find their way over such distances?

While flying over remote areas of the ocean, aircraft navigators require sensitive instruments, along with radio signals, to be sure to stay on course and not get hopelessly lost.  How can the albatross cover these many miles soaring so carefree, first in one direction, then in another, and never get lost?  The answer is that God has put all this direction-finding ability into its brain.  How helpless man looks with all his instruments, compared with the instincts and abilities given to these birds by the Creator.

God has given mankind an intelligence far above other created creatures, along with fresh blessings every day.  Yet how many people never give Him a thought, and some intentionally turn away from Him. 

God is so "long-suffering . . . not willing that any should perish, but that al should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).  How deeply He loves us: "He . . . sent His Son to be the propitiation [offering] for out sins" (1 John 4:10). Do you have the joy of being a child of His through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

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