Our Built-In Homing Device

San Juan Capistrano Mission
by Jon at pdphoto.com

Did you hear the bells this past Monday? The bells at San Juan Capistrano? Thousands of people did hear them, because they gathered, as they do every year, to rejoice in and celebrate the return of the beloved Swallows. These famous swallows begin their flight every year at dawn on February 18th, from the Argentinian city of Goya, and arrive at the San Juan Capistrano mission, without fail, on the morning of March 19th.

According to Argentinian magazine correspondent Enrique Bermudez, who has made a thorough study of the swallows, they fly a total of 7,500 miles one way on this astounding trip, which they have been making every year for at least 200 years. Bermudez, who writes for Para Todos Magazine, says the swallows fly most of their journey at an altitude of 6,600 feet and move at a speed of 18 miles per hour. His research shows that the swallows are masters at following a flight plan that is continually taking advantage of every favorable wind. Their long-awaited arrival is greeted by a huge local celebration, including the joyous ringing of the centuries-old bells.

Then, after enjoying 7 months of the warm climate and excellent food – and offering their share of work to keep the eco-system in its proper balance – particularly by destroying about a billion insects – the swallows lift off again on October 23, circle the mission, and head home to Goya for the fall and winter.

We’ve all heard of the Swallows of Capistrano. They’ve been immortalized in word and song for many years now. Unfortunately, most of us cannot make a trip to California to see their return and celebrate it. But the fact is that all of us have the privilege of witnessing just as great a miracle taking place where we live, as we watch the “closer-to-home” birds of various types migrate North – then South – at just the right time every single year. In my neck of the woods, the most prevalent birds to migrate in a noticeable way are the geese.

But in every single little burg and hamlet where spring pops out from under winter’s blanket, ducks, geese, and birds of various sorts find themselves on the move again. And without fail, all the members of each specie of bird always know exactly where they are going. Just like the Capistrano Swallows, they all have this built-in guidance system called “instinct.” It’s like internal radar – a homing device, if you will. A homing device that never fails to take them to the right place at the right time: south in the winter; north in the summer; and to the highest rafters of the old, crumbling mission at San Juan Capistrano.

What about you? Do you have your built-in homing device turned on? Is it keeping you focused on your perfect destination? No matter what the season in your life, your perfect place of safety and fulfillment is always the same place: The Almighty, Eternal, Living God.

What time is it in your life? Is it time to migrate to a new place in your spiritual walk? Do you find yourself feeling the need to live on a higher plane? Or is it getting a little dark and cold where you are now, causing you to yearn for greater warmth and light and nourishment?

Well, the Word of God makes it clear that we each have a built-in homing device, with its own internal radar. The Word tells us that we do not have to “anxiously look about us,” trying to find our destination or our path. (Isaiah 41:10).  All we have to do is set our hearts on the One who created that homing device. (Proverbs 3:6).

Do you have your internal radar zeroed in on the Almighty God of the universe? If so, you have a fantastic journey ahead of you.

If not, perhaps this is a good time to make an adjustment.

6 thoughts on “Our Built-In Homing Device

  1. I love the story of the sparrows, I have heard vaguely about them but never paid attention (I am in Canada) I know the Robins return is a big sign of spring here. We were just talking about the miracle of the birds knowing the time is right for migration.
    Relating this story to my life is a new idea but an excellent one. I feel a stirring inside that it is indeed, time to migrate to a new place in my relationship with God.
    Thank you for this excellent analogy. Great post.


    • Thanks, Lee. I’m glad you enjoyed it. And thanks so much for the link. I love the story of the Capistrano swallows, and it was a fun article to write.

      I’ve been recommending your site to a number of people. You and your husband are an inspiration, with all the work you do to get out the beautiful stories of God’s creation.


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