A long time ago, I took the children to a petting zoo. There was a hen in the far corner of the barn. I thought she was alone until a bevy of tiny heads poked up through her wing feathers, took a quick look around, and then disappeared in a flash into the dark warmth of her wings.
We’re just like those chicks. We need hiding places, too. Life is tough. Our days are fraught with danger to our hearts and our souls and our bodies. It’s a battle, and a lot of times it feels like we’re caught out in the open with nowhere to hide. Worse, we feel guilty and weak for wanting to hide. After all, running for cover hardly fits the image of the American hero -- the Marlboro man sitting tall and proud astride his stallion. So we try to ignore (or at least hide from ourselves and our friends) our desperate need for refuge.
The truth is, though, we all find our hiding places, even if we don’t admit what we’re doing. We hide in front of our televisions, in our booze, in our novels, in our busyness, in our jobs, in the arms of someone else’s wife. The problem with our hiding places is that they only give us the illusion of safety. Like it or not, the hiding places we come up with on our own don’t work. They’re short-term fixes.
There’s only one place we can hide and really be safe, and it’s the one place we resist with all our proud might. It’s too humbling, too helpless, too kid-like, too dependent, too easy. A crutch. Something for the weak to cling to. And so we crawl through life on our own, ignoring the invitation of the One who made us.
“How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not.” Luke 14:34