Monday, March 28, 2011

The Shadow of His Wings

Matthew 23:36-39 "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets! Killer of the ones who brought you God's news! How often I've ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn't let me..." (The MSG)

I am such a nerd. One of my new favorite websites is the Eagle Cam from the Norfolk Botanical Gardens in Virginia. This is a live streaming video of a bald eagle's nest that currently has three two-week old chicks in it. I could watch it for hours. Eagles mate for life and both parents care for the babies. This afternoon while I was watching the mother eagle brought a fish back to the nest and gently tore bits of meat and placed it in the mouth of her babies. Then as the afternoon moved into dusk, she pushed the fish aside and began to position herself over the chicks. She has a special arrangement of feathers on her chest that close around the chicks, then she slightly lowers her wings so that her sides are covered. Next she takes her beak and pulls loose nesting material up around her to enclose every little space. To me it is fascinating.

Tonight as I watched her gather her little brood tenderly underneath her, I could not help but think about Jesus crying out over Jerusalem. The care that this mother bird shows her babies is exactly the kind of tender care that Jesus said he wanted to show to the Jews...and to us. I love the wording from The Message that says he "ached" to embrace them. In the NIV, He says He longs to gather His children to Him.

In the eagle nest, there is one chick that is getting very independent. He wants out. He doesn't want to be under the wings of his mama. That is a little restrictive - it's also dangerous. Adult bald eagles don't have many predators, but babies are very much at risk out from under the protection of the parent.

If we could only see ourselves like these vulnerable little chicks. Instead, we want to assert our independence. We want to do our own thing. We don't want God restricting our activity. We don't understand that life out from under His wing is dangerous. He aches to embrace us and like little children, we squirm out of His grasp so we can go our own way. We need to learn to submit, to follow His guidance, and to allow Him to be our protection.

Psalm 17:8 "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings..."

"Lord, Help us to pray like David to be hidden in the shadow of your wings. Forgive us when we try to break free and go our own way."

Just in case you are as big a nerd as I am:

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