It was a warm, sunny Saturday morning in early December— the kind of day you’re not going to get very often. We were taking full advantage of it by doing some things out in our back yard when I saw a hawk fly in and perch in one of our pine trees. Over the years we’ve lived at several places and have experienced a fair amount of wildlife. At one house (located on a road aptly named Deer Creek), part of a deer trail crossed the edge of our property so we were privileged to see those lithe, graceful creatures on a regular basis. We’ve also had raccoons, possums, armadillos, owls, foxes, copperheads, and an emu. But in all of the years and in all of those places, I’ve never had a hawk perch in one of our trees. It’s unusual behavior for them so I stopped what I was doing and watched.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t see much because he had strategically located himself among a cluster of pine needles. I decided to take a chance and go inside and get our binoculars. When I came back out, I thought he was gone but when I looked more closely he was still there. As I focused the lenses in on him, I could see he had his back to me and was looking out on the golf course. Our house is by the sixth tee and it really looked like he was watching the different groups of golfers coming up and teeing off. Then he slowly began to rotate his head until he was looking right at me!
Hawks are pretty interesting when it comes to their eyes. For one thing, they don’t move in their sockets like ours do so if they want to see something out of their line of sight they have to move their head. As compensation, their head movement (especially their rotational ability), far exceeds ours. And their eyesight— well, there’s really no comparison there at all. A hawk’s vision is about eight times that of a human due the 1,000,000 photoreceptors per square millimeter in their eyes (we have about 200,000).
God made the hawk this way because it is a seeker. It doesn’t live off of the charity of a bird feeder or have its meals catered, it has to find them. If it doesn’t seek, it won’t survive. It’s that simple.
God made us in a similar way in the sense that we are also intended to be seekers. Most people misunderstand Jesus’ words when He encourages people to ask, seek, and knock (Matthew 7:7-8). They understand them to have to do with a person who hasn’t yet come to God—yet Jesus is addressing His disciples with this statement (5:1-2). He wants them to understand that seeking is to be a way of life. This means if we are a follower of His, then seeker is our status. Like the hawk, we are designed for this and failure to do so will mean a life terribly out of sync with Him.
We seek God through prayer, in the Scripture, through worship and fellowship with other believers, and in other ways. And the good news is that He’s not hard to find. In fact, whenever we draw near to Him, He draws near to us (James 4:7-8). To stop seeking is to stop living!