28 Nov


Don’t mess with her.

I was reading Psalm 91 with a patient. As the words flowed out of my mouth, a new set of pictures flooded my mind. The scripture says,

    Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

    I will say of the Lord,

    “He is my refuge and my fortress, 

    my God, in whom I trust.”

    Surely, he will save you from the fowler’s snare 

    and from the deadly pestilence.

    He will cover you with his feathers, 

    and under his wings you will find refuge; 

    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Ps 91:1-4).

A memory of my husband being attacked by an ordinarily sweet and docile Buff Orpington named Nugget flashed across my memory. I remember giggling in shock and awe as a grown man required back up in the face of a six-pound, fluffy bird. He grabbed a broom and started whacking her with it. And, in his defense, that chicken acted like she might just peck his eyes out.

Understanding what a broody hen really looks like and how she naturally acts brings this scripture to life in a way I hadn’t considered before. The psalm says that God is like a hen who covers us with her feathers and provides a safe place for us to rest under her wings. I’ve always considered that a peaceful place, safe in the nest of a loving and docile mother. But that metaphor teaches something completely different about the character of God and the way he protects us.

Farmers who explain what’s happening in the coop when a hen goes broody say that the hen’s disposition and attitude are completely changed. They describe their behavior as hissing, growling, shrieking, pecking, and feather flapping. They also say getting them shifted out of this behavior is incredibly difficult. Mamas are programmed to take care of their young.

I don’t know about you, but I find it comforting to know God protects us like that. He is fierce and persistent.

* The email will not be published on the website.