A couple of days ago I was sitting watching the humming birds at our backyard feeder. They are the most amazing creatures whose very nature defies our understanding of the laws we think govern all of life. I am constantly in awe of their remarkable lives whose very existence reminds us that our God is a god of the impossible. Their wings beat at anything from 10 – 80 times a second, their heart rates can be as high as 1200 per minute. They must feed every ten minutes or so and yet many species migrate thousands of miles each year.
For example, most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds winter between southern Mexico and northern Panama. They begin moving north as early as January, and by the end of February are at the northern coast of Yucatan, gorging on insects and spiders to add a thick layer of fat in preparation for flying to the U.S. Most apparently cross the Gulf, typically leaving at dusk for a nonstop flight of up to 500 miles, which takes 18-22 hours depending on the weather. Before departing, each bird will have nearly doubled its weight, from about 3.25 grams to over 6 grams; when it reaches the U.S. Gulf coast, it may weigh only 2.5 grams. research suggests that many of them will return to the same backyard on exactly the same day each year.
Impossible you might think but why should any of this surprise us? I think that God delights in doing the impossible and loves to remind us of this in the creatures he created. After all it is not only the humming bird that defies our understanding. Bumble bees should not be able to fly according to the laws of aerodynamics. And that my golden retriever has a nose up to 30,000 times more sensitive than mine is truly remarkable.
All of this should give us hope – the God who delights in creating impossible creatures also delights in creating the impossible within and through our lives. Think of those that God has used to change history – a disgruntled tribe of slaves that fled from Egypt into the desert, a rag tag team of disciples that ran away when Jesus was crucified, a very strange and eccentric young man called Francis of Assisi, the mystic Madame Guyon who deserted her family to become a nun. That God could use any of them seems impossible, just as it seems impossible that God could use my life to make a difference in this world. Yet I have had the privilege of touching the lives of thousands.
God’s people are truly impossible people. Without God we can do nothing. With God we can do anything God asks of us and that is more miraculous than any of the amazing creatures that fill our planet.