Friday, December 08, 2006

God of the Details

Jesus told us that God loves us more than sparrows; that He knows even the number of hairs on our head. That is amazing... and a little unbelievable if you don't know science. Here's a "for instance."

If mites infect the next of a house finch the hen protects her sons by laying eggs containing males later than those containing females. When there are no mites the eggs are laid in a more random fashion with equal chances of male or female eggs being laid first. Why do things change when mites show up?

Males are more sensitive to the mites than females. Mothers minimize their son's exposure to mites by laying male eggs later than female eggs. As a result, the males are in the nest fewer days. How does she know to do this? She doesn't. She didn't decide to do it that way, nor could she have evolved this in a step by step basis over thousands of years. For one -- we would not have finches since the mites would have killed off the males within a handful of generations. Second, the process that changes the order of eggs laid is a very complex one.

Exposure to mites (any bite or irritation) causes a hormonal change in a breeding finch's body. The change is multi-stage and very, very complex. It accomplishes several things. One -- it effects the egg laying order. Two -- and this is very cool -- it accelerates the in-egg development of the males so that they are much farther along by the time they hatch and, therefore, ready to leave the next much sooner.

This is the first documentation of "maternal ovulation of both ovulation and growth" in the animal kingdom but scientists are certain they will begin finding more now that they know what to look for. They are already spotting changes in finches reacting to local conditions, seasonal changes, predator risk, food abundance and, yes, parasitism.

[details are available at the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 18, 2006 edition. The study was done by the University of Arizona and a good, short article on this is available in the popular magazine "Bird Talk" which you can get in most bookstores, January 2007 issue]

A God who thinks of the safety and comfort of finches and who, according to Jesus, will not even allow a bird to die alone, will certainly be with you today. He will care about you. He knows you and loves you anyway! You can take ANYTHING to this God in prayer -- even the little things, for He has proven that He is all about those little things, too. A young lady told me last week that she "sucks at prayer." I wondered who (physical or spiritual) told her that. All you have to do is show up. Talking is good but, as we saw with Job's friends, it certainly isn't everything. Just come into His presence... for He has already come into yours. He cares, even about the small stuff.


At 12/08/2006 01:28:00 PM , Blogger Lance said...

There is a good book that stooglover blogged about concerning prayer called Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey. I hate to recommend books or anything else for that matter because you never know what someone will take away from them, but it has been a good one for me.

At 12/08/2006 02:51:00 PM , Anonymous adam said...

Your blog is always an interesting read that either causes you to smile, laugh, consider our place in this world, or all the above at once.

But I especially like the science related ones.

At 12/09/2006 12:35:00 AM , Anonymous TinaMarie said...

It is always amazing to me how God works in the world. Science proves His power over and over. I thank you for the AWESOME reminder of the Love Our God has for us. He will always provide what we need. I needed that reminder today.

At 12/09/2006 09:18:00 AM , Blogger Paul said...

I'll take your word for the details! That is a pretty amazing story. God is good!

At 12/10/2006 09:37:00 PM , Blogger Greg said...

Wonder-filled blog, Patrick. I like the application ... just who up! Thanks.

At 12/14/2006 01:37:00 AM , Blogger John Telgren said...

This reminds my of Job 38-39, where God makes it clear that he cares for all of the wild animals. Even though animals cannot think with the skills we humans who have been made in the image of God can, God still amazingly provides them the means to survive. This is a comfort for me to know that this is the kind of God we have.

At 12/14/2006 01:40:00 AM , Blogger Emily said...

This has been quite an encouragement. I certianly have felt (and still do feel) like I 'suck at prayer'. Thanks for the reminder that God is bigger than that. :)


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