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The God of the Impossible and the Barheaded Goose
by Rick Destree
05/12/09
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“if you have faith... you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

You might be very surprised to learn that an ordinary-looking goose claims title to “The Highest-Flying Animal.” This tenacious bird actually migrates over the Himalaya mountains! Imagine a climber’s great surprise when, in his desperate struggle to reach the top of Mount Everest, a flock of Bar-headed Geese passes overhead—carrying with them no food or water, no oxygen, and wearing no extra clothes. Our Creator’s skills are incredible!

The Bar-headed Goose (Anser indicus) navigates the air over the Himalayas at 30,000 to 33,000 feet (9 to 10 kilometers). The oxygen concentration at this height is little more than one-quarter that of sea level—not enough air for kerosene lanterns to burn, helicopters to hover, or people to breathe. If an oxygen mask is not handy, a man will pass out within seconds at this altitude. Yet this goose remains fully conscious and faithfully flies over the Himalayas twice a year, a journey which takes several hours.

The Bar-headed Goose is a migratory bird that breeds in Central Asia (southeast Russia and western China) but travels to India and northern Burma for the winter. Why doesn’t it just fly around the mountains or snake its way through them using river valleys, like most other migratory birds of the Himal region? I am convinced this goose has been given a titanic task to show us, in a visible way, that Christ can and will sustain His creation through all difficulties—His hand leads and upholds this bird!

Christ’s construction of the Bar-headed Goose includes larger-than-normal wings, lungs that inhale greater-than-normal amounts of air, and blood containing a special type of hemoglobin that carries higher-than-normal levels of oxygen to its tissues and organs.

God also designed this bird to produce a lot of heat when it flies. This constant radiation of body warmth, plus its down feathers, prevents ice from forming on the goose’s wings, potentially ‘grounding’ it.

The Bar-headed Goose is a master of rarefied air, reminding us that its Creator, Jesus Christ, makes all things possible (Matthew 19:26). God shines His glory in the farthest reaches of Earth—even where life’s presence seems utterly impossible.

I quoted a verse from the book of Matthew at the beginning of this article—a passage that admittedly speaks of faith, not geese. It is Christ, however, who is Author of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2) and the Author of creation (Hebrews 1:10)—He alone is the One who moves mountains, not us! So, whether Jesus moves a mountain for someone or moves something, like a goose, over a mountain, He is the God who sustains and guides us all in incredible ways.

"I will go before you and will level the mountains... so that you may know that I am the LORD" (Isaiah 45:2, 3).

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