"How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." - Matthew 23:37
If you have ever watched a hen with her chicks, you might have noticed that the hen will cluck loudly when she senses danger nearby. The chicks hear her warning, and if they know what's good for them, they run to her for cover. The hen will droop and spread her wings to make room for the chicks, but if they don't respond to her invitation, they will be exposed to danger.
Two things become apparent when this imagery is used to describe God and his people: God's character is steady and protective, but human responses are sometimes unpredictable and foolish. Refuge is always available, but we need to seek and go to it as well.
How many of us suffer because we haven't run to the Father for cover? What needless pain do we bear because we don't go to the Lord? If we are scurrying around, trying to fix things and worrying about getting attacked, why are we trying to do this on our own? Our only sure protection in life and in death is God our Savior.
Jesus longed to cover God's people with his protective love, but they wouldn't listen to his invitation. Even so, on the cross Jesus took the full brunt of the enemy's attack in order to save us—and through his death and resurrection we can have eternal life!
Lord Jesus, thank you for saving us so that we can live with you. Teach us to seek refuge in you and to live faithfully each day. Amen.