“That’s just Pokémon GO for Christians and nature lovers,” a family member opined upon my new hobby of bird watching. Not to be deterred, but possibly true to the accusation, I have seen 34 bird species during the first 2 ½ weeks of January. My quest for a wholesome, relaxing hobby conducive to outreach is over.
Squinting through binoculars, I can barely detect a tiny, grayish-white blob far-off in the snow-covered cornfield. That is either a clod of snow or a snowy owl which people report seeing near here, I reason. Walking halfway out into the field and still well over a hundred yards away, I look through the binoculars again. The snow clod blinks! Grabbing my phone, I call Duang, who joins me in observing the blinking snow.
When we get back to our car, a couple arrives and sets up a powerful birding scope. “Here, have a look,” they offer. Now we see that the once-blinking-snow-clod has feathers and other features. We can clearly distinguish between the bird and the surrounding snow. Expressing the full extent of my snowy owl knowledge, I exclaim ostentatiously, “The brown-white mottling on the back indicates that it is either a female or a juvenile.” What a difference the added power of the birding scope made.
Since then, I have reflected upon our mission to Surat Thani. We cannot see the forces of darkness that we will wrestle against, nor can we discern people’s hearts. Our vision does not pierce the future. To be successful, we need divine illumination and heavenly discernment. As the birding scope allowed us to see details invisible to the naked eye and barely detectable with binoculars, the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit will enable us to identify people who are hungering to know God. Finding them will be far more rewarding than watching any rare bird.