What came first- the chickens or the blog?

A Place of Shelter

on February 7, 2013

Last week I attended the funeral of a friend’s mother. Sadly her father passed away only two months ago too. It can be hard to find appropriate words of comfort and consolation in times where the loss of loved ones is so great. The pastor leading the service read from Psalm 91 which he had read with the dear lady on the day she died.

He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest in the shadow of the Almighty…He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge”

The image here is that of an eagle, or maybe a hen—in any case it’s a picture of a bird that senses danger and then protectively spreads its wings over its young. This move is very common amongst most species of birds. A bird senses the approach of a predator, or the threat of something falling from above, and instinctively spreads out its wings like a canopy. Then the chicks scuttle underneath for shelter. The move is so instinctive that an adult bird will spread those wings even when no chicks are around!
And the writer of this Psalm who has seen this lovely thing happen thinks of God. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. God is our shelter when the winds begin to howl, under God’s wings we are defended, protected, perfectly safe. The point is that someone else is in charge. Someone big, strong, and experienced. Someone who never goes off duty. Faith in the sheltering wings of God does not remove physical danger or the need for precaution against it. It does not protect us from illness, death or disaster but our faith in God’s love and protection frees us from fear of the worst that can happen. From the depths of a Nazi death camp, Corrie ten Boom wrote these words: “No matter how deep our darkness, He is deeper still.” Every tear we shed becomes his tear. Under his wings we can find peace to deal with the present and courage to face the future.
When I looked up other hen/bird Bible references I found that Jesus himself refers to the city of Jerusalem “How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings”
(Luke chapter 13 verse 34)
And one day the soldiers took him outside Jerusalem and nailed his wings to a cross.

These bird references may go some way to explaining why outside my own church building there are quite a few carved birds in the stonework





3 responses to “A Place of Shelter

  1. winnie maguire says:

    Thanks Gillian – helpful at this time.


    Sent from my iPad

  2. winnie maguire says:

    Sent from my iPad

  3. […] Was very blessed by this this morning. A Place of Shelter. […]

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