Under divine wings
“How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” NIV
After a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park, forest rangers trekked up a mountain to assess the inferno’s damage. One ranger found a bird, literally petrified in ashes, perched statuesquely on the ground at the base of a tree. Somewhat sickened by the eerie sight, he knocked over the bird with a stick. When he gently struck it, three tiny chicks scurried from under their dead mother’s wings. The mother, keenly aware of impending disaster, must have carried her offspring to the base of the tree and had gathered them under her wings, instinctively knowing that the toxic smoke would rise. She could have flown to safety but had refused to abandon her babies. Then the blaze arrived. The heat had scorched her small body but the mother had remained steadfast. Because she had been willing to die, those under the cover of her wings would live.
In one sentence (Matthew 23:37), Jesus reveals the Father heart of God. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us so we might live. And now the Father longs to draw us close to Him in the same manner that a hen draws her chicks under her wings. He wants us to be so close to Him that we can feel the warmth of His great love for us and hear His heartbeat. He wants to shelter us from the storm, keep us from the snare of the enemy, deliver us from every trial. He knows how vulnerable we are. He knows the dangers that are out there and He longs to draw us to Himself.
And in case you have missed the significance of that word “longs” let me remind you how Webster defines it: “to have a strong desire for something, a wishing with one’s whole heart and often a striving to attain, a restless or painful longing.” God is wishing with His whole heart to draw you under His wings. He is striving to draw you to Himself. You have an open invitation to draw near to Him. He has kept a place there for you and His Father heart will always be restless until you are there, under His wings. That’s where you belong!
That is the spiritual picture of what God desires for us. How do we get to that spiritual place called “under the wings of the Almighty”? It is the place of obedience and trust. When we walk in obedience to God, when we do what we know to be right and true, when we trust in Him, we are under His protection, we are under His wings! However, when we choose to walk in disobedience, when we continue to live in sin and disregard the law of the Lord, we take ourselves out from under that divine covering. Then, we are at the mercy of the enemy and of every storm that comes our way. Then, we are vulnerable and without shelter.
We have to choose where we want to be. God is striving to draw us under His wings but often we strive against Him because we are not willing – not willing to obey, not willing to yield. At those times, He weeps over us like He wept over the people of Jerusalem because they were not willing to be drawn under His wings. You see, He saw what was coming upon Jerusalem and He was desperate to draw them under His wings but they were unwilling. They wanted to go their own way, do their own thing. And He could only weep for them.
Are you under the wings of the Almighty? Are you living in that place of safety and nearness to the Lord? Take time to reflect on what you are doing, on where you are going and make the decision to live under the wings of the Almighty. It’s the best place to be – safe, secure and close to God.