This life is hard; often tragic. Even today as I sit to write, a small child in a nearby community picked up a gun and it discharged, killing him. No matter the events leading up to this incalculable loss, imagine his family and their grief. Day by fallen day waves of loss crashes mankind’s shores. We are a fallen people, and some would agree in such a state we can only expect a pummeling. Many people, however, shake their fist at the heavens, turn and gather the ruins, and walk away. Does God even care? If there is a God why doesn’t He do something for us?
Two millennia past, a Jewish carpenter by the name of Jesus, stood in the midst of the great city and cried out: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; For I say to you; you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matt 23:37-39)
Janet S. Scharmann shares the following: “Not being a farm girl, I could only imagine the scene of a hen gathering her chicks under her wings. I wondered what circumstances would cause a mother hen to gather her chicks and what would encourage lively chicks to be gathered. I wondered why the Lord would think it important enough to repeat this image four times in three verses.
Then a friend shared with me this story told by Phillip Allred in Meridian Magazine. A group of young college students were helping measure range damage after a wildfire raged across the prairie outside their university town. As they walked over the expanse of blackened earth, they noticed a cluster of small smoldering mounds. One of the volunteers was particularly interested in the unidentifiable heaps and asked one of the more experienced range managers what they were.
This veteran of many range fires replied that he had seen this phenomenon on a few occasions and suggested that the young man turn over one of the piles. He did. To his great surprise, several sage grouse chicks ran out from under the upturned mound. He was fascinated. How incredible, he thought, that these little chicks had known to find and run underneath this mysterious shelter.
The young man asked what the mound was and how the chicks knew to take refuge there. To his amazement, he was told that the smoldering heap was the remains of their mother. When there is danger the mother hen instinctively calls out to her young ones and stretches out her wings for them to run under and find protection in her embrace. The young man was profoundly moved by this symbol of a mother’s innate love and protection.”
God does care. And God has done something for us. Without cancellation of our free will, He has relentlessly pursued fallen humanity since Adam and Eve put on fig leaves. He endlessly searches for us, constantly speaks to us, forever reaches for us, and in the intimate picture of a hen covering her young, He desires to protect us, even unto His death. But the greatest tragedy in this life is that so very many are not willing. And they perish.
Are you willing? Are you ready to declare of Christ Jesus, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord?” His wings wait.