Raucous, fighting, clumsy, irritating eater of scraps and dead fish, until the seagull is in the air, it is not an impressive bird. But, with air under its wings, it becomes a glorious reflection of the symmetry and grace of our Creator.
Today I leaned against the wind atop a sixty-foot dune. With the wind roaring past me, a platoon of seagulls floated past me in perfect formation, pure white against the gray clouds, moving without flapping their wings, so slowly I could keep up with them at a slow walk, a picture of peace and tranquillity in the storm. They thrived in a situation that would have beaten most birds to the ground exhausted and injured.
Seagulls are scavengers. They are the janitors of the shoreline. They travel great distance to find food. In fact, I’ve seen them travel 15 to 20 miles inland to find food in flooded field, or even a dump. But for safety they often spend the night floating on the water. Many nights, flocks can be seen heading toward the sunset from their daytime foraging to sleep in the waves.
I have often wondered where seagulls lay their eggs and keep their young. The answer is quite striking. You will not find their nests just anywhere along the shore. They look for very secluded and protected areas. Islands off the shore such as Manitou Island are a favorite place. Also, secluded sand dune bluffs, or even in dumps or wastewater treatment lagoons, wherever there is little traffic and danger.
Upon closer examination they have been created to fill their place perfectly in the creation. Their shape is highly aerodynamic with streamlined shape and long, tapered wings that resemble our sailplanes. They can ride the thermals (or the up drafts) off the dune cliffs of the shoreline for hours on end without getting tired. Their beaks are made to rip and tear the flesh of fish washed up on shore. Their webbed feet enable them to move easily in the water.
Indeed, one is reminded that the Lord changes our hearts to enable us to soar upon the winds of the storms of life. He equips us to deal with what ever trials He sovereignly sends upon us. Trials that would dash to pieces the faithless on the rocks below. In response to pain and suffering, the Psalmist says, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (Ps 55:7) I like to picture the seagull flying into the sunset to rest, safe, rocked to sleep upon the rolling swells. In fact, to remind me of the Lord’s care and protection from the storms of life I keep a cluster of seagull feathers on my desk, feathers that I picked up on the beach.
Like the Seagull
O Lord give me grace to ride the gale,
To soar when my strength will only fail.
Winds and storms in life will come,
So is the promise to Thy chosen ones.
A shallow life of peace I do not desire,
Where storms do not come, nor dangers fire.
Only in storms do my wings sail,
Thy grace I know in the waves of the gale.
The rougher the storm, the higher we sail,
By Thy grace delivered from the fear of hell.
When I, by my strength, would sink and go under,
Enable me on faith’s wings to taste of Thy wonder.
By: Deane Wassink (2-1-2001)