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.