Great Blue Heron

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By Joy Dekok

Here is an excerpt from Under His Wings – Lessons Learned from God While Watching the Birds.


Great Blue Heron

I slid slowly into the ditch, hoping to get a closer glimpse of the great blue heron. Settling on a rock surrounded by cattails, I waited. A movement in theblueheron copy water caught my eye—and there he stood, watching the water below his spindly legs. In one swift move, the heron caught a fish, stretched his long neck upward, and swallowed. I wondered where the others were, since I had often seen several in this area.

When a semi-trailer went roaring by and backfired, I jumped. So did several herons that were hidden in the cattails around me. When they took off, I was close enough to see their brilliant blue under-feathers and feel the air ripple across my face from their movement.

I sat back down on the rock, my heart beating a faster rhythm.

Driving home, I realized the herons had let me enter their secret hiding place. My presence did not alarm them. I couldn’t explain their behavior, so I accepted it as a gift from God. I grinned and declared out loud, “Thank You, Lord, for this special blessing today!”

Later, I thought about the big birds again, and how I was so involved in looking for them that I almost missed them. Surrounded by the birds, I was completely unaware of their presence, but they knew where I was.

Sometimes it’s like this with God. We go where we think He’ll be, we look, and we don’t see Him. We’re in the right place, with the right motives in our hearts, and still we almost miss Him. How can that be?

Many times it’s because we miss the fact that, for believers, God is as close to us as our own hearts. The very Spirit of God dwells in us (See 1 John 4:15-16 and 2 Timothy 1:14). It’s wonderful to go to church, and to retreats focused on God, and to quiet places to meet with Him, but we must remember that God is in these places because He is wherever we are.

If we’re so focused on looking for God where we expect Him to be—in the distance—the way I was looking for the herons, we run the risk of overlooking Him. I saw one of the great birds out in the water, but nearly missed the many who were so close to me, that I could have touched them.

God is near. He is even closer than the herons in the cattails were to me. In his Word, James tells us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (See James 4:8a). Dear believer—God is where you are. Yes, He is in the church, at the retreat, and in the quiet places—because you and I take Him there. 

Bird Feeder:

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16 NET)


“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice! Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near! Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:4-6 NET)


“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)

For the Birds:

Every serious birder needs a good pair of binoculars. Prices range from $99 to $4,500, and many are offered through trade magazines for bird-watchers and camera stores. Read up on the options before selecting the pair that is right for you. If you know others who watch birds, ask them what binoculars they use, and if they live nearby if you can take a look at them. An excellent place to ask is at your local wild bird feed store or a local wild life center. If you like to bird watch when you travel, size can be an important consideration.

Joy lives on thirty-five acres of woods and field in Minnesota between Rochester and Pine Island. She’s been married to Jon for Joy Dekokthirty-five years and they enjoy their many nieces and nephews. Their dogs, Sophie and Tucker, keep them company when they explore the land riding their John Deere Gator or while watching the many birds and animals that visit their feeders.

She has nine books in print and is working on a novel series featuring main character, Olivia Morgan called The  Northern Lights Series. 



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1 Comment

  1. I love this story from your book, Joy. I can just imagine your racing heart when they all flew off:) The parallel is so true. Sometimes we are so busy looking for God, we miss the still small voice that’s whispering in our ear. Thanks for sharing.


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