Shadow of His Wings

mother hen with chicksWe returned from vacation, a couple of weeks ago, to discover seven new additions to our barnyard fowl.

The baby chicks are so cute, running around!  Mama Hen, who was previously quite calm-natured, has suddenly become super-protective.

And the father, Sammy the Game Cock…oh my!  We thought he was protective before…now he is in hyper-vigilance mode!  He sometimes starts pecking at my fingers when I reach to unlock the gate.

Sherri and I discussed whether we should put the chicks up at night, to keep them safe from owls.  I was convinced that between Mama Hen and Sammy, the hatchlings would be about as safe as anything could keep them, in this world.

Each evening, at dusk, Sammy goes inside the little A-frame building and starts his special calming cluck.  Moments later, Mama Hen starts moving toward the entrance, clucking to the chicks to follow.  They all huddle together in the back of the A-frame, chicks safely beneath Mama Hen’s wings, and Sammy guarding the entrance.

So far, all the chicks have survived every night.  Not a single chick has been lost to a night owl.

And yet…we are down to five chicks!  Two chicks have gone missing, but not at night.  Which can only mean they were lost during daylight hours.

It’s possible that a hawk or snake may have snatched them.  Possible, but doubtful.  Between Sammy, Mama Hen, our goose, and the goat, our barnyard is an intimidating place to enter during the day.  Even I often carry a rake into the barnyard to keep over-protective animals at a distance.  I have trouble imagining a wild animal risking all that hyper-protection during daylight hours.

We have, however, seen chicks outside the fence on a few occasions.  Although well fenced in, there are a few areas, in tight corners, or near the gate, where a small enough chick, with enough determination, can squeeze under.

The world outside that fence is quite different from the world within.  Sammy and Mama Hen cannot protect a chick outside the fence.  Our dogs, who would love a chicken snack, are kept outside the barnyard by the fence.  We also see racoons, opossums, foxes, bobcats, and other predators around.  The world outside the fence is not a safe place for a young chick!

So, why have some of the chicks worked so hard to find a way past the boundary of the fence?  What is it that compels them to view the fence, not as a protective barrier to keep danger out, but as a limiting barrier to prevent going where they please?

In a couple more weeks, the chicks will be too big to squeeze under any spots in the fence, and in time they will learn to understand the fence keeps danger out.

Perhaps part of maturing is learning to understand the purpose of boundaries.

…sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. (Genesis 4:7, b)

For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. (Psalm 63:7)

Your thoughts?

[Linked to God Bumps , Beholding Glory , Graceful , Seedlings , Wellspring ]




18 thoughts on “Shadow of His Wings

    • Shelly, I learn so much from watching animals, children, and grandchildren, that I sometimes wonder how God would ever speak to me if they weren’t around.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Beautiful. This reminds me of the fact that God only asks us not to do the things that He already knows will hurt us. He doesn’t have a law for the sake of having a law. He wants us to live life abundantly! And he knows what we do not know. He sees what we cannot see. W have no reason not to trust that He is looking out for our best! Just love Him. 🙂

    • We would never say that we know more than our creator about how we function and what we need. Yet, too often, our behavior demonstrates that is exactly what we believe.

      “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
      Prone to leave the God I love;
      Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
      Seal it for Thy courts above.”

      Thank you, Dorcas! Love you, Sis!

  2. As Shelly said, it’s amazing how much we can learn from watching God’s creation! Thanks for sharing this lesson from a little chick. 🙂

    Mary Beth

    • Yes, God’s creation is very amazing!

      I’m trying to think of a cute word-play on “little chick” without potentially coming across as a male chauvinist…not working, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead… 😉

      Thank you, Mary Beth!

  3. Wow those are some sweet little guys. Lots of food for thought here, Joe – you’ve got me thinking hard this morning about why I sometimes push the boundaries God has so lovingly established for my own good.

    • They really are cute running around pecking food!

      They’re now about twice the size they were in the picture…hopefully large enough to no longer be able to squeeze past the fence. By next week, they should be hitting that really ugly stage where the baby feathers fall out to be replaced by adult feathers.

      Yeah…it makes one wonder about the boundaries, doesn’t it? How is it I can see the principle so clearly illustrated in baby chicks, yet sometimes struggle seeing it in my own life?

      Thankful for God’s mercy and grace!

  4. So many of us have a tendency to become “braver” and push outside the boundaries and doors… not realizing the possible consequences … DUH!! … not asking Him or being observant of other former results. That’s what I was thinking as I was reading your post. Need to be careful, walk with Wisdom holding my hand.


    • Braver, huh? Maybe that’s why they seek out a way past the fence. Seeking a sense of adventure…never realizing the very real dangers.

      For us, maybe that translates to a need to join God’s great adventure for our lives, rather than pursuing danger for its own sake?


      Thanks for the thought-provoking comment, Joanne!

  5. This is a great reminder that we have boundaries and “rules” for good reason. They are really a form of grace, keeping us from trouble that lies on the other side.

    • “They are really a form of grace…”

      Yes, exactly! The boundaries are for our own protection. I love how you worded that.

      So…if the rules are grace, then there is no law-vs-grace in our Christian walk? They’re really two different expressions of the same loving grace?

      I think you’re onto something here, Jennifer!

    • Me too, Lyli!

      I’d far rather be in the shadow of His wings than on the wrong side of the fence.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. The message at my church this past weekend was about this very subject, Joe. It’s one that our culture seems to dismiss as being “old fashioned.” You’ve illustrated it so perfectly here with your barnyard observations. Thanks again for a thought-provoking post!

    • Don’t you love it when God orchestrates events to reinforce and bring clarity to a truth He is showing us?

      I’m so glad He used my illustration to reinforce your pastor’s message! 🙂

      Thank you, Beth!

    • Yes, much comfort and protection in the shadow of His wings…nothing but danger and death outside the boundaries of His protection…

      Thank YOU, Wanda!

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