He Loves Me!
This devotional is a series of excerpts from Wayne Jacobsen's life changing book, He Loves Me! Download a PDF of this book by clicking the link below.
Day 31: The Hen and Her Chicks
The forest fire had been brought under control, and the firefighters were making sure all the hot spots had been extinguished. As they marched across the blackened landscape between the wisps of smoke still rising from the smoldering remains, a large lump on the trail caught a firefighter's eye. As he got closer he noticed it was the charred remains of a large bird. Since birds can so easily fly away from the approaching flames, the firefighter wondered what was wrong with this bird that it could not escape. Had it been sick or injured?
Arriving at the carcass, he decided to kick it off the trail with his boot. As he did, however, he was startled by a flurry of activity around his feet. Four little birds flailed in the dust and ash, then scurried down the hillside.
The bulk of the mother's body had covered them from the searing flames. Though the heat was enough to consume her, it allowed her babies to find safety underneath. In the face of the rising flames, she had stayed with her young. She was their only hope for safety, and willing to risk her own life she gathered them together and covered them with her own body. Even when the pain reached its most unbearable moment, when she could easily have flown away to start another family on another day, she made herself stay through the raging flames.
Her dead carcass and her fleeing chicks told the story well enough-she gave the ultimate sacrifice to save her young. It also illustrates an even greater story-this one almost incomprehensible. In this story it is the Creator of heaven and earth who does exactly the same thing to rescue his wayward children from their own destruction.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." -Matthew 23:37
"But you were not willing." The story's end was tragic for those who stood around Jesus that day. Unwilling to come to him they would have to endure the fire themselves to its tragic end. I doubt there are words that break the Father's heart more than these. After all he had done to deliver them from the ravages of sin, they were unwilling.
Not all chicks run to their mothers in time of danger. Some, either paralyzed in panic or trying to find a way to save themselves, are devoured. She cannot run around gathering them individually. They have to come to her. That's all the young chicks in the forest fire had done to be safe. They didn't have to earn it; all they had to do was run under the mother's wing and let her cover them.