When Lucas first gave me the birdsong book, I knew there was one bird I wanted to look up immediately. For two years I had been hearing an owl every morning as I walked the trail around the property. I think I noticed because I was so surprised to discover that they hooted in the daytime too. But unlike the other large birds of prey I had seen, an eagle, an osprey, and the hawk, which still on occasion sits on a tree limb across the fence to talk with me, I had never seen this owl. I had him pictured though—a nearly two foot mottled brown bird with two ear tufts and large yellow eyes that see in the dark.
I found him in the book, a great horned owl, and quickly punched in his number. Imagine my surprise when his call was not quite right. So I checked all the other owls, a screech owl, snowy owl, barn owl, and finally one I had never heard of—a barred owl, slightly smaller, a bit more white streaked in his brown feathers with definite bars across his throat, and a large round head sporting no ear tufts at all. But his sound was unmistakable. This is what I had been listening to for two years, out in the woods beyond the creek. I’ve still never seen him, but I know he’s there, and now I can picture him correctly.
I think as children we develop a mental picture of God from things we have been taught. Sometimes our pictures are mistaken, or at best, simplistic—God is, after all, not easy to explain to a child. As we grow up and learn to study on our own, as we deal with the circumstances of life and meditate on the two together, our picture of God should become clearer, developing into a rich depth of comprehension.
When we rely only on what we have been told and the shallowness of our youthful perceptions fails to mature, our faith may falter in times of trial. Suddenly we can no longer see a God who cares, a God who is powerful and whose plan goes far beyond this short, and to us, too important life. Regardless of the evidence, we fail to see Him there in times of trouble, and what should be visible to us more than others becomes invisible. If we are not careful we will become blind, totally unable to see Him ever again. “I can’t believe in a God who would…” is a sign of stunted spiritual growth, not increased intellect.
Open your eyes. Examine your life through an overview of faith, not a miniscule sliver of circumstance. Look at the big picture--the evidence is there. I cannot see my owl, but I hear him hooting in the woods and believe. As sure as he is out there, God is too, working in your life through providence, speaking to you in His word, perhaps at a depth you have never been to before. Take the plunge and open your eyes.
Now the king of Syria was warring against Israel, and he took counsel with his servants saying in such and such a place shall you camp. And the man of God sent and told the king of Israel…and the king of Israel was saved not once but twice. And the heart of the king of Syria was troubled…and one of his servants said, Oh king, Elisha the prophet is telling the king of Israel the words that you speak, even in your bedchamber. And he said, Go and see where he is...and it was told him that he was in Dothan. Therefore he sent horses and chariots and a great host, and they came by night and surrounded the city...And Elisha’s servant said, Alas my lord, what shall we do? And he answered, Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. And Elisha prayed and said, Jehovah, I pray you, open his eyes that he may see. And Jehovah opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha, I Kings 6:8-17.