“And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.”
It’s a sunny, sweltering summer day, and you’re looking for a place to park your car. Since you know you’ll be gone for several hours, you look for a nice shaded spot so your car will be more comfortable when you return. Or it’s a blustery winter day with sub-zero temperatures. This time you park your car where there’s as much sunlight as possible so that the sunlight streaming through your windows will heat your car’s interior while you’re gone.
What you are doing is practicing what scientists call behavioral thermoregulation. Through experience, we learn how to adjust our parking behavior to fit the climate conditions. But did you know that animals and plants also know how to adjust their bodies to help them stay warm or cool?
Insects and reptiles are particularly skilled at this. On a cold day, for example, an insect will adjust its position so that it intercepts as much sunlight as possible. Lizards and snakes bask in the sunlight on cold days, and on warm days seek relief in the shade or by burrowing underground.
Surprisingly, plants, too, know how to adjust their positions. The silk tree, for example, has leaves that it can move into three different positions depending on whether it needs to keep cool or gain heat.
Most likely, somebody taught you where to park your car for maximum comfort. Or you were intelligent enough to figure it out. But it could only have been God who taught the animals and the plants.
Heavenly Father, since You have provided for the comfort and survival of the least of Your creatures, I know I can trust that You are providing for me as well. Amen.
R. Allen, Bulletproof Feathers, p. 121 (University of Chicago Press, 2010). Photo: During cold weather, western bluebirds stay warm by huddling. Courtesy of Blalonde. (CC-BY-SA 4.0 International)