“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”
Each time I read this verse, I wonder how many may miss the imagery because they have never witnessed a hen with her chicks.
Or, because of the cruelty of their human parents, someone may be unable to relate to the tenderness and compassion of Jesus as He extends His arms like a loving parent.
The past week brought me a beautiful visual of the love of God when I witnessed the arrival of a litter of new kittens from a recent stray to the farm. Mind you, I already have five cats inside my house. I do not need any more cats!
Callie, so named for her calico coloring, arrived tiny and scrawny with her bulging abdomen. My barn is massive; the supply of rodents is never ending. Since there is no resident barn-cat at the present time on the premises, I concluded she might stay if she keeps the mice in check.
She was so tiny, which led me to conclude she had at least a few more weeks to grow her kittens. One morning last week, she disappeared and I feared for her well being. As small as she is, any one of the birds of prey living here at the base of the Cumberland Mountains could make a meal out of her. Just recently, a neighbor had their Yorkie swept away by such a bird…
So far, the ending looks happy. I found her the next morning hidden in a bush in the corner of the flower bed around my home with three newborn, and good size, kittens. What brought this verse to my mind was how she gathered them under her paws and cradled them, having been a mother for less than twenty four hours.
Living in a rural area with fifty of my own acres, I have witnessed many animal births on the property. Yet, Callie demonstrated to me how God protects us in our vulnerabilities and provides from His own stream of water for our nourishment. How foolish it would be for a kitten to decide to head off on its own until it had been cared for, strengthened, and grown.
Obstetrics was never my area of expertise, but I have witnessed numerous human births as well. Most new moms are immediately successful, being the pinnacle of creation, and the God given wisdom given to them has sustained the human race for thousands of years.
However, the animal mother usually has no preparation or ability to learn from her ancestors, yet she performs flawlessly. Selecting the perfect spot for birthing and going it alone, in the rain no less, with predators all around is still an astounding feat that bears a much greater imprint than the genetic sludge that some teach we’ve descended from.
Isn’t it amazing God teaches even the animals to do what He wants them to?
“The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory” (Psalms 29:9 KJV).
Little Callie’s hind calved, and she displayed what the Lord God put in her from His Heart to His creation. How He wants to embrace us with the same tenderness and care, to offer hope, guidance, and nourishment from His own Hands.
The hen and kitty have much to teach us. The safest place to be is in the shadow of His wings and the cradle of His paws. Can you hear the compassion in the voice of the Lord as He cried to Jerusalem? Listen, and come to Him.