While letting three backyard hens run in the yard one morning, one of them picked up a piece of plastic and began to celebrate. Thinking it was good for food, she quickly ran away from the flock to be alone and consume this delicacy.
Each time the others would come near her, she would pick the object up again and further sequester herself until they stopped pursuing her. When she was alone, she would peck away at the object, trying to utterly consume it.
I kept proclaiming over her, “What’s in your mouth is nothing, let me have it. What you are trying to protect and hoard for yourself can hurt you, let me give you something better.”
She did not understand and continued in her destructive way – running further away from the flock, then dropping the plastic and pecking at it frantically trying to consume it.
After showing no signs of giving it up on her own and focusing more of her attention on the object, I herded her to a corner of the yard to get her alone with no distractions from other curious chickens – who also wanted to pick up the plastic.
She responded frantically, knowing I was honing in on her seemingly valuable possession. I drew closer and closer to her until she had no where to run but into me.
I gently held her still so I could remove the tightly held object in her beak. She struggled and squawked defiantly, not knowing what I was trying to accomplish for her. I knew if I didn’t remove it, it could kill her.
I plucked the object out of her mouth and let her go free. She was angry with me at first, ruffling her feathers as she turned her back and walked away with disgruntled murmurings.
I herded the flock into a safe run in the shady part of the yard, where they found fresh water, wholesome food, and a safe space to explore. I knelt down and offered the hens some ripe garden strawberries as treats, and she was the first to draw near and eat – no longer angry, no longer agitated, but happily receiving what I provided for her good and delight.
From this interaction, the Lord taught me how we can focus on something in our lives that could utterly consume us. Let us stay in the fold, receive from Him what He provides, and dwell where He leads.
Psalm 23: 1-6
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
“When my soul was embittered,when I was pricked in heart, I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a brute beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength[b] of my heart and my portion forever.”