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RELIGION: Undaunted by the storm

February 10, 2021 at 5:22 a.m.

Our weatherman was correct: We had a storm on the night of January 24! Lightning flashed constantly, rain pummeled in heavy bursts and strong wind prevailed throughout the night. Although the runoff in a rainstorm overflows the street perhaps once a year, the water normally flows through the culvert. But when I walked to the mailbox to check the mail in the morning, the lower part of the street looked like a river! I'd seen it flowing that heavily only once before in the 10 years we've lived here.

Seeing movement in the air, I looked up to see two buzzards laboriously flapping their wings as they endeavored to make their rounds to who-knows-where.

Looking higher, I saw an amazing sight. A large hawk was hovering. Not quite motionless, but hovering. It wasn't flapping its wings. Its flight feathers and its tail were making adjustments to maintain its position, and its head was turning as it was scanning the field for breakfast. But it was maintaining stationary location in spite of the buffeting winds. It was undaunted by the windstorm. How does it do that?

It was too high to identify but, noting the time of year and its size, it might have been a red-tailed hawk. For you bird-watchers, that is a Buteo Jamaicensis. These critters are found from Alaska to Panama and the West Indies, including most of the United States and Canada.

The red-tailed hawk is also called a chicken-hawk, although they rarely take down a full-sized chicken. This hawk has been known to attack humans if it thinks its babies are in danger. Their diet consists primarily of voles, rats, rabbits, ground squirrels and small reptiles -- especially snakes. Sometimes they eat bats, frogs, toads and insects. When food is scarce, they have been known to act like a buzzard and eat carrion.

They also like cats and small dogs. But if a red-tailed hawk gets your pet, don't kill it because it's one of the many birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. (Sorry about the pet.)

Back to the hawk and the windstorm.

How does a 2.5-pound hawk, with a wing-span of 4.5 feet, withstand the onslaught of a heavy wind and remain stationary in the air? The bird uses a method that we call "kiting."

Hawks are masters of kiting, and they do it best in a stiff wind. They hover by positioning their air-streamed bodies in a gliding angle with the tail tilted up. A stronger wind makes this easier. Their large wing surface is crucial to this endeavor, but it's the head-on wind that makes this kiting or hovering possible.

I stood there at the mailbox, in the wind, watching the bird perform this amazing feat. After about ten or twelve seconds, it slowly proceeded forward, then banked to the left. Suddenly, it lofted about 500 feet higher and began a wide arc to the right, gliding out of sight.

Kiting. Hovering. Stationary in the midst of a buffeting wind. In spite of the pummeling it was receiving, the hawk was in total control of its situation. And without flapping its wings, it used the storm to climb higher. The hawk was in command, and was, therefore, undaunted by the storm.

Can humans do that? Yes, we can.

Not just our nation, but the world today is being pummeled by numerous storms. Political. Biological. Cultural. Social. Chemical. Mental. And more. And what do we do about it?

We make the quandaries much worse by misunderstanding the nature of the problems, then we compound the difficulties by assigning erroneous solutions.

In the list of storms above, I should add spiritual. Most of the world will disagree, but a great majority of our problems in life are spiritual in nature.

Political, cultural and social storms are spiritual? Yes, they are.

Since we have ejected God from our culture and government, we have ejected wisdom. That's why we are misdiagnosing society's ailments and assigning incorrect solutions.

Proverbs 9:10 says, "Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment."

If we were wise, we would be like the hawk and use the storms to our advantage. We would look above the problems, turn back to God, and ask for His counsel. Proverbs 1:7 tells us that fools despise wisdom, but wise people honor the Lord Jesus Christ, and live according to Holy Scripture.

Friends, let's be wise.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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