Archive for February, 2011

Under His Wings

The fire was pressing closer.  The woods were teeming with animal life in a frantic attempt to escape the flames and suffocating smoke.  Ground squirrels, mice, chipmunks scurried across the floor,  and deer crashed through the underbrush.  Wolf could run beside fawn in this race, because only one thing mattered:  flee.  Everyone obeyed their self-preservation instinct. 

Except one.

It was a mother grouse with her small brood of chicks.  They were still quite young, and she knew they could not get away fast enough.  She desperately looked for some kind of shelter and found a hollow log to hide in.  She gathered all the chicks under her and waited.  She had no way of knowing whether the fire would destroy them utterly or pass by and leave them alive.  But she would not flee without them.

Sometime later, after the firefighters had beaten back the flames, they discovered her hiding place.  She was dead.  She had not been burned up, but apparently the heat and smoke killed her.  But they became curious about why she had stayed, and when they lifted her body, found all her chicks underneath. 

They were alive. 

There is a verse in Psalms that is familiar to most of us:  “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.”  It is from a chapter that is a bastion of strength to us in the midst of our trials and tribulations on earth.  For most of my life that verse connected with me in a sort of cozy way.  God covers me with His wings.  I am safe, I am warm, I can snuggle up and be close to Him.  It wasn’t until recently, when God connected the verse with the story above that I grasped a deeper, more serious tone to the picture. 

When a bird covers their fledgling with their wings, and tuck them under their body, they are essentially placing their life between the danger and the fledgling.  Yes, there is a comforting feel to the arrangement, but in all seriousness, the parent is prepared to die to avert the danger.  They are putting all their resources, all the fight they have within them, all the strength they can muster between the predator and the baby.  What would it have been like for that mother hen as the heat and smoke got worse and worse?  Was she ever tempted to flee and leave the chicks to die?  Or was she so determined to protect that the thought never crossed her mind?

We know that nothing can destroy God.  It is not a matter of who will win – Him or the predator.  But think about what it means that God is putting Himself between you and the thing that’s after you.  Like the bird, the picture shows God pitting His strength against the teeth and claws of the enemy.  And even though He has infinite resources at His disposal, we know through the story of Jesus Christ, that in essence God was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our redemption. 

I understand there are times when God takes us under His wings and times when He purposely exposes us to the elements so we can heal and grow.  But next time you feel Him speaking to you about His protection, the next time you read this verse, think about what it really means He is doing.

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