You can't really tell it from this picture, but there are five new baby chicks in the barn! Last night, we went to the barn to see the new babies. I was the first one in the chicken house and there were no little chickies to be found. "Hey Ryan," I called back to my son, "What happened to the chicks? I can't find them anywhere!"
Ryan ambled in and looked around. "They're probably under their mama," he said, reaching down to move her over. Sure enough, there were five little chicks, safe and snug under their mama's wings. In an instant, those chicks started exploring and began to wander away. Mama Hen lost no time at all. Quick as a flash, she started turning around to gather those chicks back under her protective care.
This morning, I stopped by to check on the chicks again. They are so cute and their little chirpy sound is so sweet!! Mama Hen was carefully supervising the babies as they ran around on the floor. As I walked in, the rooster looked up and headed my way. Of course, he had to walk past the babies to get to me, and Mama Hen went ballistic. She didn't know if he would hurt her babies or not, but was taking no chances. She jumped at that rooster faster than I could believe. He and I both started backing out of her way!
Mama Hen was so protective of her babies that it made me see this verse from Matthew a little differently.
"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. (Matthew 23:37 NASB).
The idea of gathering us together as a hen gathers her chicks has always spoken to me of God's desire to tenderly protect us and keep us safe. The ferocity of that hen today, though, has impressed me that this gathering of the chicks under the wing is not just a warm and fuzzy experience. It comes with a fierce desire on our Lord's part to protect us and a responsibility on our part to stay close so we can be safe. This evening, As I remember that Mama Hen, snuggling her chicks and charging all threats, I can't help but think, "Yes, Lord! gather us close! Gather us under Yoir wings!"