The most interesting observation as a scientist that I have made over my years of birding and photographing birds is that of capturing what is termed the leap of faith. This phenomena is usually only observed in small passerines (tree perching birds) and not so much in larger species where much more effort is required to become airborne. The above photo was my first observation, taken of a Lord Howe Island Golden Whistler male leaping off a branch, into the air, quite confidently, with wings closed. My camera had caught something my limited human eye had not.
Initially, as a fairly new bird observer, I thought this unusual photo to be a one off, but as my photographic library grew of many Australian bird species I captured from time to time, many other species airborne with closed wings. It appears that many small birds spring from the branch with closed wings and when their horizonal thrust expires, immediately open their wings in flight.
This action happens so very fast, we seldom see it, as the leap may vary in distance. This next photo depicts one of the greatest leaps I have ever seen a bird make, a male Rufous Whistler leaping at least a metre with closed wings in a very foggy Barren Grounds National Park (hence poor light).
There are three premises on which a bird, or even ourselves, base our ability to take a leap of faith. One might think that they personally never do this, but in fact we all do it many times a day each time we sit in a chair, drive a car, fly in a aircraft and eat a meal. So much of our life depends on trusting others and trusting proven universal principles, otherwise we would be full of fear and be constant emotional wrecks.
The first premise is Personal Observation. The young bird before it is fully fledged watches its parents, and other birds, launch into the air quite confidently and open their wings to fly, and also carefully land.
As children this is how we learn to trust and perform important functions vital to our survival. Observe and Obey. We call this having faith, but before faith becomes a personal reality, observation of the actions of others helps to begin building one’s own dossier of faith and trust.
Following considerable observation, often subconsciously, one develops Personal Trust (faith). It is in this vital step that the individual connects the possibility observed in others actions to their own, and take their first plunge, their first leap of faith.
Many on their first flights may not leap but flurry their wings till they take off, but as they realise their full potential and actually do it, they develop the final premise of Personal Experience.
No one can argue with this, the proof is in the pudding as it is said, the object of one’s faith proves itself in the outcomes that follow and the peace of mind, abilities and accomplishments that follow from performing the leap on each new occasion.
In some of the largest birds, such as the White-bellied Sea Eagle, the parent will actually push the baby out of the nest if they do not start flying when they think they should. However, the parent undergirds their first few flights in order to catch them should they fail to fly initially. The parent carries the fledgling back to the nest on their back, and the process is repeated. It all depends on how quick the baby is to learn and how willing they are to leap in faith.
Eventually, the parent leads the fully fledged youngster and the deed is done. The parent’s love joined with the youngster’s faith brings hope and fulfillment to the life of the young bird. Now it can fly and hunt for its own food and live a truly fulfilled life.
So it is with much of our life’s learning, for example, we observe people sitting on chairs, we determine that it is safe and believe so (faith in the chair to not fail you, but fully support your weight), we finally put the faith to test and actually sit in it, and after many occasions of sitting in chairs, and trying many different kinds of chairs, the experience becomes accepted without any forethought, fear or concern. However, should a chair collapse unexpectedly, you will for a short time, have to to observe, examine and trust chairs all over again till you return your confidence, and accept it was a uniquely unusual experience.
Our belief systems affect how we trust and how we do life. What we believe affects the way we behave and how we understand ourselves and the world around us. There are many belief systems (religions) and many gods, which makes it difficult for many to know, as Pilate asked Jesus Christ “What is Truth?” in John 18:38.
If we are to take a leap of faith we need to be sure that our belief system has credence in Truth and in a God that is true and observably consistent and believable throughout history.
We don’t want to be left hanging in the air with our wings not open, to fall disappointingly to the ground with no undergirding because the substance of our belief delivers no truth or credence to our faith, thus failing us. In this age of global travel, science and the quest for knowledge and understanding, also predicted in the Bible just before the end time.
“..Those who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who turn the many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” – Daniel 12:3,4 (NEV)
Many today say that there is no god and that science has replaced God, and so people in this fast changing, Post Christian, Secular Humanistic, hedonistic, selfish society have created their own gods, which they align with their desired behaviour. As a scientist, I have clarified the error in this logic in a previous post. They claim their are no longer any absolutes, no right or wrong and no normal and abnormal. As the apostle Paul predicted and declared in Romans 1:18-32. I know the God whom I believe in, and have a personal relationship with Him because He is real and true to His Word. Have a wonderful week!
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