When you come home late at night, isn’t it nice when a family member has left a light on for you?
It shows they care about you, and want you to be guided safely back inside.
I was reminded of this recently when I came across a fun fact about border collies, a highly intelligent breed of dog often used to herd sheep.
The border collie usually sports a prominent white tip on its tail. This characteristic colouration is known as the “Shepherd’s Lantern.”
The white tip of the collie’s tail stands out in the dim light of dusk, allowing the shepherd to be guided home from the pasture after a long day’s work.
That got me thinking:
Our Heavenly Father gives us a “lantern,” too.
God loves us and wants to make sure we’re guided home to him.
He does this in two ways:
There’s no place like home, is there?
A lot of animals would agree with that statement, if they could speak.
Many birds and animals have an uncanny “homing instinct” that allows them to travel thousands of miles to return to the very same location each year.
Monarch butterflies from eastern North America return to the same wintering grounds in central Mexico each year, even to the very same forest.
Sea-dwelling Pacific salmon return to the same river they were born in to spawn.
Pregnant sea turtles migrate thousands of miles across the ocean to lay their eggs on the same beach on which they were born decades earlier.
And then there are homing pigeons, the champions of long-distance way-finding. Their homing instincts are so reliable that they’ve been used in wartime to deliver crucial messages over enemy lines.
But how do they do it?
One theory suggests that homing pigeons may have a mineral called magnetite in their beaks, which acts as a tiny GPS unit. This would allow them to sense the earth’s magnetic fields and their own position in relation to it. If true, it would mean that these birds are essentially flying compasses, with their beaks pointing them in the direction they should go.
It makes me wonder: do humans have a “homing instinct”?