Feb 10 2010

A Lesson From the Animal World

trumpeter swans 307“Many times I wanted to gather your people as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let me.” Matthew 23:37

My time in Yellowstone National Park is quickly coming to a close. It has been an incredible experience both photographically and personally. One of the things that makes this park so special is the abundance of wildlife and the relative ease of viewing the animals.

A couple of days ago we saw a trumpeter swan pair and their chick (or sygnet). Seeing the male and female swans keep their young one close by got me to thinking about how animals, as a general rule, do an excellent job of protecting, providing for, and teaching their young. Most animals are extremely protective of their offspring. A mother bear, for example, becomes a ferocious creature when she feels her cubs are threatened.

Adult animals also do a wonderful job providing for their young. Here I think a good example would be the way bald eagles bring food to the nest so that their chicks can eat. Another important role of adult animals is to teach their young how to survive. This includes instruction on things like where and how to find food or how to find protection from predators.

In protecting, providing for, and teaching their young, animals offer us a reflection of their Creator. The Scriptures reveal a God who longs to protect us, provide for our needs, and teach us how to live. If adult animals do such a good job of caring for their young, it should be clear that our heavenly Father will do an even better job of caring for His children.  In the scripture passage cited above Jesus uses the mother hen as an illustration of God’s loving care.

Baby animals soon learn how important it is to stay close to their parent(s). We humans should, likewise, realize how critical it is to stay close to our heavenly Parent. Here the animals can be our teachers.