Noise Pollution

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Colossians 4:6 The Message

Brown Thrasher singing in a tree against a blue sky. March, 2018; Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Last summer I decided to try my hand at recording bird songs. I downloaded a recommended app and went out into the field. While listening to the wonderful songs of a Brown Thrasher, I just knew I had a great recording. But when I got back inside to listen, I was shocked. Car engines, airplane noise, the air conditioning unit… all of them destroying the talented thrush’s solo. I soon found that the hardest part of getting good bird recordings was finding a quiet place to record them.

Noise pollution! I had never really realized just how much noise there is out there… in nature as well as the world of social interactions! The good and pleasant conversation is drowned out by contempt and complaint.

Ecclesiastes 10:20 Never curse the king, not even in your thoughts, nor the rich man, either; for a little bird may tell them what you’ve said.

Often, there isn’t much you can do to control nose pollution, except to decide that you won’t add to it. You can control your own speech! Am I adding to the noise pollution by complaining, attacking and slandering? Am I civil and encouraging in my speech? How are people left feeling after a conversation with me: uplifted or dragged down into the mud?

How did people feel after an encounter with Jesus?  The disciples on the road to Emmaus related their experience: “They began telling each other how their hearts were warmed as he talked with them and explained the Scriptures during the walk down the road.” Let us strive to produce the same fruit with our words.

Deuteronomy 32:2 NLT “Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Writing the Book of Your Wonders

“I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders.” Psalms 9:1, The Message

A beautiful Blue-headed Vireo (Vireo solitarius) photographed December 12, 2020 in  Greene County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

The joy and practice of writing about the wonders of creation is nothing new. The Bible tells us that in his four-thousand and five proverbs and songs (that’s a lot of blogging!), King Solomon “spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish.”

While I’m no Solomon, I have been journaling and blogging for several years now. I confess that I don’t journal every day, and I’ve certainly gone through some dry spells. But even if there are gaps, it has proved to be an invaluable habit. While the whole process can seem introspective, and even self-centered, I see it as a form of worship.

Nature Photography Journal ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

How often did King David refer to the natural wonders around him as he wrote Psalms in praise to the God of heaven? “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained…” A view towards the mountains of Israel caused David’s heart to leap in praise, and his pen to write poems and songs of worship.

“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” Psalm 45

Even the simplest blog post and photograph can glorify the Creator. Pointing out the wonders of His creation exalts our God as the creator and sustainer of all things. Recognizing and delighting in the works of His hands, rather than in some other pursuit, is giving praise where praise is due.  It is not a replacement for the lifting of hands in the congregation, but can certainly produce a fuller, more vibrant life of worship.


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Unsung Heroes

“Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth…” Proverbs 27:2

If you’ve walked through an eastern forest or meadow, you’re familiar with the well-known Eastern Phoebe. It flits from perch to perch snatching up moths, flies, and about anything else that zips by. And in self-recognition of its own prowess as a tyrant flycatcher, it shouts out praises to its own name – Fee-beee! Fee-beee! –  while flicking its tail up and down in a proud signal of success.

Eastern Phoebe perched in a garden. Sayornis phoebe is a North American tyrant flycatcher bird. Photographed June 17, 2020 in Walton County, Georgia USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

But how about the Phoebe of the Bible? Even the most diligent students may not know her, as she only has one mention within all sixty-six books. In Romans 16:1, the Apostle Paul writes, “I commend unto you Phoebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea…”

Anonymity and obscurity is typical of most unsung heroes of the faith. What is the name of the woman at the well, or the widow that gave the two mites? And what of the missionaries and martyrs throughout the centuries that gave their own lives while not desiring fame or shouting aloud their own name?

Although the Biblical Phoebe wasn’t shouting her own name like the avian Phoebe, she still had great impact. Some believe that Sister Phoebe was entrusted to hand-deliver Paul’s letter to the Romans. This epistle – quite possibly containing the greatest writings on Christian doctrine – had to be safely guarded from loss, theft and moisture on the nearly 800 mile journey from Corinth to Rome. Imagine if she had failed in her task. Would the revelation that salvation is by faith alone, and the resulting Protestant Reformation, have ever taken place? The Biblical Phoebe’s impact on Christianity receives little recognition, as is typical with most Christian servants.

Luke 17:10 “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”

Yes, her name is recorded in Scripture (which is more than most receive) but even greater is the fact that her name is written in heaven. The unsung Christian heroes of this world – the pastors, missionaries, evangelists, orphanage workers, soup kitchen attendants, nursery workers, and more – all receive this wonderful privilege, even if not recognized in this life. What more could we ask for!

Luke 10:20 “…but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Hide and Seek

Have you ever shouted to God, “COME OUT, COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE!”?

Ezekiel 39:29  “Neither will I hide my face any more from them…”

A Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) appears to play hide-and-seek in a nest cavity. March 31, 2017; Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Birding can sometimes feel like a game of hide-and-seek. The birds have the “hide” part down pat! They are masters of camouflage and stealth, and seem to know the cleverest places to hide. So the birders must play the “seek” side of the game. We maximize our chances of finding particular bird species by learning where they live – their range and habitat within the range – and going where the birds are!

There are times it seems like God is playing hide-and-seek with us. Our theology says God is omnipresent, but our feelings say He has hidden Himself and is nowhere to be found.  Like Martha and Mary when their brother Lazarus passed away, we blame God for being absent when crisis and need hits — “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21).

But have you thought that maybe God isn’t hiding; and perhaps the problem is with our seeking? Jesus was quite willing to commune with those who desired His company. When two disciples asked, “Where dwellest thou?” Jesus offered the open invitation of come and see (John 1:38). Since the Bible promises us that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), perhaps our seeking isn’t as diligent as we thought.

God is not hiding. He can be seen in the design, order and complexity of nature around us… especially the birds! And just like searching for a bird in its range and habitat, we maximize our chances by seeking God in the right places. Where does God “hide”? Maybe He is “hidden” in that Bible on your bookshelf? Or perhaps He can be found in that church down the road? One thing is certain: if you are honest and diligent, He will be found!

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Taking and Making Opportunities

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season…”

Bright yellow female American Goldfinch perched on pine sapling. Spinus tristis is a North American songbird. Photographed June 17, 2020 in Walton County, Georgia USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

People have asked me, “How are you able to photograph so many different animals?” A big part of the equation is taking and making opportunities. This success principle holds true in many areas: financial investors watch the markets to take advantage of opportune seasons to invest, while ingenious entrepreneurs create a market where none existed before. Taking an opportunity, or making one, can bring success.

There are times that wildlife photography opportunities present themselves; say, a Red-tailed Hawk swooping down on a roadside squirrel, or a Gray Fox cutting through your backyard. You have to be always ready to take those opportunities when presented. But most of the time, birds don’t swoop in and pose when we set up a tripod and camera. We must make opportunities by travelling to areas that maximize our chances of wildlife viewing, such as birding hotspots, parks and wildlife refuges.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul passes along this same strategy for success to the young pastor Timothy. William Barclay’s translation of 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Urge it upon people whether you can take an opportunity or have to make an opportunity.” Paul isn’t speaking about wildlife photography or financial investments, but about eternal investments: souls! There are times that opportunities to witness present themselves, such as in a long line at Walmart. Other strategies include making evangelistic opportunities such as outdoor concerts and testimony services, or mini neighborhood healing crusades.

So, a greater question than “how do I photograph more birds?”, is “how do I win more souls?”!  Hobbies and recreation are fine – and I’d say they are even essential to mental health – but do I spend as much time seeking to bring people for Christ as I do on photography? Or do I squander my evangelistic opportunities on other pursuits?

Just some food for thought. As for me, I will pursue and enjoy both!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Raptor Rapture

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Hawk catching prey at Panola Mountain State Park, Georgia. November 3, 2014 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Who isn’t enraptured by raptors?  With their first-rate flight, outstanding optics and on-target talons, they grab our attention and seize our fascination. The ability to swiftly and silently swoop down and snatch up prey unawares – like a thief in the night – is where this group of Birds of Prey receives their name.

A raptor is defined as a carnivorous bird that has large, sharp talons used to seize prey. It comes from the Latin word rapio, meaning to snatch, grab, carry off or abduct. The speed at which these hawks, eagles, kites, owls and falcons can clutch an unsuspecting victim is what makes them so impressive.

Red-tailed Hawk talon characteristic of Raptors. Walton County, Georgia. August 2017 ©www.williamwisephoto.com

This same word is also used in the 4th century Latin Vulgate translation of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. In this scripture, the Apostle Paul describes the Lord as “catching up” the saints from off the earth to meet with Him in the air. It is from here that we receive the doctrine of The Rapture.

As the age of man upon earth nears midnight, Jesus Christ Himself will snatch His people away from impeding Tribulation, as swiftly and unexpectedly as a raptor descending upon its prey. But we won’t be carried off for lunch like a fish in an Osprey’s claws, we’ll be carried away to supper… the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Revelation 19 describes a heavenly wedding reception where we, the church, are clothed in beautiful, clean bridal garments to worship the Bridegroom for eternity.

Seats on this Last Days flight called the Rapture are booking now. You can’t purchase this ticket online through Travelpediocity, but it is available for free through the blood and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Wherefore comfort one another with these words!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Just Passing Through

“We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.” 1 Chronicles 29:15

Migrating Cape May Warbler photographed October 12, 2020 in Clarke County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com

Like a golden beam of sunshine that briefly pierces an autumn cloud cover, a Cape May Warbler made a brief but dazzling appearance in my backyard this month. Just as quickly as I was able to fire off three shots, she was off, not to be seen again. She didn’t stop to feed. She didn’t gather any nesting material. She didn’t have a bath or a drink. She was just passing through.

Just as these migrating birds only briefly stop during their long travels to and from their breeding grounds, I am reminded of the Christian’s journey here in this world. Although we may be busy putting down roots and making ourselves comfortable, the Bible describes the Christian as a pilgrim, as a sojourner just passing through. We are not permanent residents of this world, but headed for another.

Our destination is not a seasonal wintering ground in South America, but a permanent, eternal home in heaven. Like the warblers that quickly pass through our yards each spring and fall, the Christian is to have a mind of temporary residency as we pass through this life oriented towards eternity. Let us enjoy the wonders of this world, but also keep a mind on eternity!

Colossians 3:1-3  “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Back On Course

James 1:16-18 The Message “So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course.”

Normally along the coast, this Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) was a bit off course when spotted in Walton County, Georgia. June 11, 2020. Photo by William Wise.

As the fall migrations progress, there are often birds that go off course and show up in odd areas where they are not normally observed. Even  though they may be a common bird elsewhere, birders often delight in seeing these vagrants and will travel miles and miles to add them to their checklists. These birds may have drifted off course from storms or strong weather patterns, or by following the wrong flock (“abmigration”).

Earlier this summer I was delighted when I found a Least Tern flapping in graceful circles over the retention pond behind my office in Walton County, Georgia…  about 260 miles from the coast! What a delight to have the first and only eBird sighting for my county! Yes, I could have simply driven four hours east and seen as many Least Terns as I wanted. But this drifter was a delight to be seen so far off course.

In our Christian walk, we too can become spiritual “vagrants”. We might neglect Bible reading or prayer, or prolonged absence from in-person church attendance might leave us a tad off course. But when a Christian strays, there is no joy… except with Satan! He’s just waiting to add another drifting Christian to his list.

Hebrews 3:12-14  The Message  So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God.

But thank God we have a Divine Navigator that can direct our feet and put us back on course. His Word casts a beam of light and makes it simple to find the correct course. The Holy Spirit’s guidance is a gift that keeps us from becoming a checkmark on the devil’s eBird list!

John 12:46 I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in the darkness.


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Almighty is His Name

Great Blue Heron in flight; Walton County, Georgia. June 8, 2020 birding photography ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

He who appoints the sun to shine by day,

who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night,

who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar

— the Lord Almighty is his name:

Jeremiah 31:35


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Fighting the Reflection

Like a bird fighting its reflection in a window, we too can fight our true reflection as revealed by the Word of God…

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” James 1:23-24

Tufted Titmouse; Walton County, Georgia. September 2, 2020. ©www.williamwisephoto.com. Please don’t steal my images. Legally download this image here.

As I sit listening to the Sunday morning sermon, I’m distracted by a feisty little Tufted Titmouse flying up to the window attacking his reflection. He believes the image in the glass to be a rival interloper invading his territory. Because the bird doesn’t like what he sees, he decides to fight the reflection.

While I watched this aggravated avian, my pastor continued to preach from the book of James. In the letter, James describes the Word of God as a mirror that reflects what manner of men we are. We have our own self-image, but our image of ourselves is always quite different than how God sees us. And the Bible has a way of revealing who we really are; a true reflection, as in a mirror.

Tufted Titmouse fighting its reflection; Athens, Georgia. www.williamwisephoto.com.

Often, as the mirror’s image comes into clear focus, we don’t like the image that we see, and like the Titmouse, we fight against that reflection.

  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, impatient self (James 1:4), we fight against the reflection and declare ourselves to have “the patience of Job.”
  • When the mirror reflects our poor decisions and “lack of wisdom” (James 1:5), we fight the reflection and declare the Bible outdated.
  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our true, double-minded nature (James 1:8), we fight the reflection and posit our focused faithfulness to God alone.
  • When the mirror of the Word reflects our own sinful nature as the fault of our falling to temptation (James 1:13), we fight the reflection declaring “this is how God created me.”
  • When the mirror of the Word of God reflects our hot temper (James 1:19), we fight the reflection, take up a rock and smash the mirror!

When we see our true reflection in the mirror of the Word of God, let us not fight against it as the church Titmouse. Let us not walk away and “forget what manner of men we are.” But let us be doers of the Word, and as Today’s English Version translates, let us “submit to God and accept the Word that He plants in our hearts” (James 1:21 TEV). Another lesson learned if we will listen to what creation speaks!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Parental Care

I gazed in awe all spring long as I watched avian parents make run after run to their nests with beaks’ full of bugs for their babies. At times, there were only a few minutes between visits. I marveled how they had the endurance for such toil and labor and still cared for themselves. At least the entire bird parental process only lasts a few weeks, while for us humans it lasts eighteen or more years!

Baby Chipping Sparrows awaiting parental care. Clarke County, Georgia. July 24, 2018. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

But “parental care” took a new definition for me as I answered a call back home these last few weeks. My aging father, who so diligently cared for me as an often ungrateful youngster, could no longer live on his own. I regret that being over 800 miles away and involved in the ministry, we couldn’t provide that care personally, but found a wonderful, brand new assisted living complex for him. At least my wife and I know he is being cared for.

While the phenomenon of children caring for parents isn’t seen in the bird species, it is a Biblical concept and obligation. In a time of trouble and distress, we read of King David providing for the care of his parents.

And David said unto the king of Moab, Let my father and my mother, I pray thee, come forth, and be with you, till I know what God will do for me. And he brought them before the king of Moab: and they dwelt with him all the while that David was in the hold. I Samuel 22:3-4

Chipping Sparrow feeding three nestlings. Clarke County, GA. July 24, 2018. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Even so, isn’t it just natural to care for those who raised us with such tender love and care until they go into everlasting care with our eternal Father?


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Test Yourself!

Whether it be for school, employment, or medical treatment, testing is a fact of life. But the Bible tells us of a more important test…

Psalm 26:2 “Test me, O LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind;”

With such a wide variety of “flavors”, shorebirds like peeps and gulls can be a test of a birder’s identification skills. Sanderling and Ring-billed Gull; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. December, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

For months now we’ve heard about coronavirus testing, testing, testing. So when I came home from work last month and saw my 15-year-old daughter laid out on the couch with a runny nose, headache and sore throat, I knew what had to be done. And when her COVID-19 test came back positive, we knew what we had to do: re-enter that dismal bunker of self-isolation. (Thankfully all her symptoms were fairly minor and she had a quick recovery, other than loss of taste and smell.)

Two weeks of Quarantine. What now? While my older daughter lamented about the devastating impact upon her social life, I decided to test myself! No, I’m not speaking of a homemade COVID-19 test, but brushing up my skills on some of those hard to identify shorebirds. I found my old stack of 3 x 5 index cards that I made long before I had a smartphone, each with a bird photo taped to front, and began to test myself.

Semipalmated Sandpipers and Sanderlings on Port Royal Sound, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. May, 2019. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

But I wasn’t halfway through the first day of isolation when God began to challenge me. What about your prayer life? How is your Bible reading lately? Like Job’s inquisition from the Almighty, my only answer could be, “Touché, God!”

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24

Following God‘s cue, I continued to test myself. Where did I put that prayer list of friends, family, and coworkers? How long has it been since I’ve written a full-length sermon? How about getting the Greek New Testament off the shelf to read a chapter a day? Instead of binge-watching internet videos, I challenged myself to pray morning, noon, night (which proved harder than I thought!).

God tests us to prove us and bring us closer to Him; not to frustrate us, see us fail, or wallow in a puddle of self-condemnation. We may not always enjoy testing, but if we will self-test ourselves now, we will be spared that “Final Examination” coming to those that miss the Rapture!

“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” Revelation 3:10


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.