I live on a small family farm. For some reason God finds ways to teach me about Himself through our chickens — maybe because someone once told me chickens were a lot like humans and I thought they were dumb. Maybe because I never understood the term pecking order until I saw it was a real life and death issue.
Our chickens are more like pets. We purchased chicks in the past but never had any hatch from our eggs. We would watch our hens brood in their nesting boxes for almost a month waiting for their eggs to hatch, but nothing would happen and we’d have to throw away the rotten eggs. Over time, we gave up on our chickens having babies.
One summer evening we were greeted with the soft peeps of five chicks with fluffy black heads and bottoms dipped in yellow. This surprise caused me, my husband, and my daughter to act like the TV husband of the 1950s trying to get to the hospital in time but who forgets his wife at home. The thrill of new life created a moment of elated chaos in our backyard.
We entered the coop expecting to hold the newly hatched chicks but were greeted by excellent mother hens. I watched as one of our hens cornered her two chicks and hid them underneath her wings as she talked to them. You know when God uses something in your life to make a verse you’ve heard a million times come to life? This is what came to mind as I watched that mama hen:
God will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings.
Psalm 91:4 (NLT)
This verse always sounded so endearing and sweet to me, full of springtime miracles and gentleness in the nest. But not in our chicken coop! Spending time with these hens and watching how they care for their chicks brought revelation about how God fiercely protects us.
God desires to have us live in the shelter of His wings and find rest in Him. He loves us in the fierce yet sacrificially loving way of a mama hen. We, as God’s chicks, have to allow Him to protect us. Sometimes our mama hens are beside themselves trying to help and protect their babies, but the chicks don’t always listen to the only voice that can protect them. But she doesn’t relent. Likewise, God doesn’t rest or take a break in taking care of us. He will leave the four chicks to gather up the one who strays from the brood.
One of my favorite observations of these mama hens has been how their chicks can become invisible. The mama hens cover their chicks with their wings to hide them from every kind of predator. We are protected in the same way. We become invisible to the enemy because under God’s wings the enemy can only see God. The Lord says:
I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call
on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them.
I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.
Psalm 91:14-16 (NLT)
Our chicks are adorable but pretty much clueless. They are in constant contact and communication with their mama hen because they know she can be trusted and that she loves them fiercely. So, they respond by listening and obeying in love, letting her take care of them, sitting quietly under her wings and watching her every move to learn how to navigate this world.
I want to be more like one of God’s chicks. Let’s live in His shelter and protection, finding the love and rest we so desperately need.