The following is an excerpt from “Do Not Grow Weary in Prayer and Fasting,” written faithfully each week for nearly 10 years by Jerry Hale, Spiritual Emphasis Committee Chair for the Growing and Building Campaign.
Our home in Pennsylvania is located within a mile or two of a large golf course and 3 small colleges. The combination of open space and wooded areas makes for a perfect breeding ground for the red-tailed hawk. It seems like each neighborhood has its own hawk patrolling the skies and limiting the populations of chipmunks and rabbits. When I first noticed our neighborhood hawk, I was surprised to see that it always seemed to be bothered by a group of crows. I would think that the hawk could make short work of the crows if it wanted to, but it just seemed to ignore them.
Recently, I was out for an early morning walk at a local school track when I noticed an obviously young hawk making a short flight from the top of the press box to the top of a copula on the nearby field house. The hawk’s presence really bothered a large flock of swallows that were obviously nesting in the copula area. The young majestic bird just sat there for several minutes while swarms of the small birds kept buzzing around him. The hawk didn’t seem interested in doing any harm to the nests of the swallows. It seemed to be focused on making sure it could fly with confidence. Eventually it flapped its wings and headed toward the golf course across the way. This got the attention of the crow air defenses, and several crows followed the young hawk, harassing him as he flew out of my view.
This incident made me think that such behavior was a common occurrence between hawks and crows. Sure enough, when I Googled it I learned that this is called mobbing and is the way crows deal with both hawks and eagles. Bird experts speculate that groups of crows are willing to take on the large potential predators to keep them away from where the crows are raising their young.
According to Whit Gibbons of the Savannah River Ecological Laboratory:
“In a situation in which a predator such as a large hawk is simply in between meals, either sitting or flying, and has no special stake in a particular location, mobbing behavior by crows could be very effective. The hawk would presumably not find the annoyance worth the effort of staying around and would move on to another area to hunt. In other words, the crows don’t want the predator in the area and the hawk itself doesn’t really care whether it is there or somewhere else. If a red-tailed hawk reached out and grabbed a crow with its talons, that would be the end of the crow. But although large raptors have the necessary weapons, the energy cost of pursuing or otherwise attempting to catch a crow is normally not worth it. Crows are agile creatures and would be very difficult to catch in flight. So a hawk typically ignores the crows or flies away.”
I believe there are some spiritual parallels we can draw here between us as Christian men and women and the hawk. The scriptures contend that we are fully armed and well able to live godly lives in our society. Just as the hawk ignores the persistent aggravation of the crows, we too should be willing to ignore the various attacks and perceived injustices that we face from the world around us. Yet when we are wronged or unfairly treated, we can be quick to demand our rights and complain to God and others that life isn’t always fair. We are called to demonstrate humility in our lives, yet in our pride we believe we have to defend ourselves. We have trouble believing that God has the ability to get us where he wants us to be. The hawk doesn’t worry about that.
Some verses to ponder:
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. II Peter 1:3-8
Even the youths shall faint and be weary , and the young men shall utterly fall : But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles (or hawks); they shall run , and not be weary; and they shall walk , and not faint. Isaiah 40:30-31
I encourage us to be men and women of humility trusting in God’s great and precious promises.