There is a story about how after a fire had swept through his farmyard the farmer was walking through it to inspect the damage. When he came to what was the charred body of a hen he kicked it with disgust thinking that surely the hen should have had enough instincts to fly away from the fire rather than sit on the ground and let it overtake her! On dislodging the charred mess of a hen he discovered that beneath the mother hen were her chickens. The amazing miracle is that the chickens were alive! It was only then that the farmer realized that the mother hen hade given her life to save her offspring. She had gathered them under her wings and thus protected them from the fury of the flames! In staying still over her chickens she had at least saved their lives. Her instinct as a mother was greater than that to preserve her own life!

This is the image that comes to my mind as I read about the desire of Jesus to gather the people of Israel together under the protective cover of His love. Knowing that Jesus later gives His life on the cross for us adds to the strength of the image! I wonder how each one of us fits into the image as we have it in both the Scriptures and the short story I related above?

It must have taken a certain trust on the part of the chickens to be willing to be gathered under the wings of their mother in the face of the fire. Imagine your mother assuring you that everything is going to be okay. As long as you just sit tight under her wings then the flames will not harm you at all! I do not think that I would be too keen to do that. I would have a hard time overcoming my instinct to try to outrun the fire. Perhaps the mother hen realized that that was impossible and knew that giving her life was the only possibility left open to her?

What I do know is that if I want to overcome the temptations of sin in my life then I have to employ a mixture of running away to escape its grasp and entrusting myself to the care of Jesus if I realize that the first option is not going to work! Perhaps we are not so different from chickens as we thought – at least when it comes to surviving the various perils that confront us in our lives!

What are the methods that I employ to overcome the sin in my life? How willing am I to entrust myself to the protection that Jesus offers me?

Lord Jesus, you gave your life for me on the cross. You have demonstrated that you are totally committed to my welfare. Help me to trust you more deeply especially when I face crises in my life. Help me to believe that you will show me the right path to take to overcome them.