I had the unparalleled joy of running around my yard at 6:48 this morning, half-naked in my robe and slippers, chasing eight mutinous chickens who escaped, somehow, from their coop. I'm sure the neighbors thought I'd lost my mind.
The last time my chickens roamed free, they pooped under said neighbor's bush, which (despite the obvious benefits to the soil) caused an uproar in the town, and required us to seek a variance, since they cannot free-range at will here.
Besides that, it was nearly Easter, and I had no desire to re-mulch the garden beds I'd already tended, if the chickens destroyed them again before my guests arrived.
So there I was, wild-haired and in slippered feet, chasing the hens in the freezing cold and hoping they'd follow me back to their cage. Everyone in the house except the cat had already gone for the day, leaving me alone with no help at all. (Did I mention that the hens escaped because they were desperately hungry? We ran out of chicken feed yesterday, and when I drove to the only feed store in our area, I found a handwritten sign on the door saying that they'd arbitrarily decided to close for the day. Ugh!)
Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures.
I am not a morning person, as anyone in my family will tell you. I don't drink coffee and I wake up slow. So the idea of a "morning run" in the cold, wearing only my robe, does not typically appeal to me.
But time was of the essence. I dared not enrage the neighbors again. So I chased the girls around the yard without success, until I wised up and found a bag of Cheerios someone had given my children (thank you, dear friend - you know who you are!). With this treat I lured most of them to their destination. Slamming the door shut, I breathed an angry sigh of relief.
That was when I noticed that there were only seven chickens in the cage, not eight.
Some of you who have been reading my blog for a while might remember Squawky. One of our first batch of "Easter Egger" (i.e., Americauna) chickens, she is the redhead of the bunch and - appropriately - the most rebellious. She has escaped us before.
Squawky does not come when called. She runs to the back of the coop when you open the door, and the far side of the yard when you try to catch her. She is not a compliant chick. And she gave me no end of trouble this morning.
I don't know if you've ever tried to catch a chicken. It isn't easy. Most of them, after they get to know you, will assume a submissive posture when you approach slowly to pick them up, and treat you as the "rooster" if there isn't one in the mix already.
But chickens react adversely to anger, sudden noises, and aggression, all of which I was displaying this morning as I cursed the stupid birds for escaping. I can tell you with certainty that the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God, especially with hens.
So around and around the yard we went, Squawky and I, she clucking and I yelling, all under the watchful eyes of the cat, who was now sitting by the front door I had left open, amused by the whole scene.
I came just close enough to grab Squawky's wings, but she clucked at me and flew away. I set up a barrier to corner her from the other side, and she flew right over it. Finally, she accidentally impaled her head between the holes in the cage and I grabbed her by the feet to capture her.* (*No animals were hurt in the making of this story, I promise!)
By 7:14 AM I was back in my house, huddled by the heater with a cup of tea, trying to calm down.
And then it hit me: Those chickens were acting just like the enemy!
Desperate Times Should Call for Prayerful Measures.
Like my chickens, Satan sometimes surprises me with untimely harassment that draws me out of my usual place of rest and peace. To hook me, there's almost always an element of urgency to these attacks, and in that moment, I forget to pray.
People say that desperation draws us closer to God, but the truth is, sometimes it doesn't. In my desperation to "fix" a situation, I will jump right into the chaos the enemy creates and accomplish nothing because of my own anger and frustration!
Desperate times should call for prayerful measures, not desperate ones!
Most of the time, our chickens are a tremendous blessing to us. They give us beautiful, organic eggs and fascinate us with their diverse personalities. But when the enemy messes with that blessing, it is a natural instinct on my part to want to fight to protect what he is trying to steal.
Fighting battles in my own strength is unfruitful, as I was reminded this morning. Had I taken a more submissive posture before God first this morning, I might have received a better strategy or kept my peace.
The moral of the story is this: don't run around like an oversize chicken in a bathrobe when the enemy shows up. Spiritually, you should soar like an eagle, not run like a chicken! Take a minute to pray a desperate prayer and let God give you a higher strategy. I promise, that prayer will save you a lot of grief... and embarrassment.
John 10:10 - The thief comes only to steal and kill
and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it
c. Deborah Perkins / HisInscriptions.com
When she's not chasing chickens, Deborah Perkins is writing a weekly Christian blog focused on life-giving communication with God. You can visit her here at His Inscriptions. She lives in New England with her hubby, three sons, eight chickens, and one cat, surrounded by wonderful neighbors.
Read more about Deborah's chickens here: The Parable of the Lost Chicken
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.