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I am neither a liberal theologian nor a feminist believing that God is both Father and Mother to us, but many of the finest traits of motherhood we find in Him who is our Everlasting Father. Jesus, our Everlasting Father, uses the imagery of a mother hen in describing his desire to care for the children of Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

“The forest fire had been brought under control, and the group of firefighters was working back through the devastation making sure all the hot spots had been extinguished. As they marched across the blackened landscape between the wisps of smoke still rising from the smoldering remains, a large lump on the trail caught a firefighter’s eye.

“As he got closer he noticed it was the charred remains of a large bird that had burned nearly half way through. Since birds can so easily fly away from the approaching flames, the firefighter wondered what must have been wrong with this bird that it could not escape.

“Arriving at the carcass, he decided to kick it off the trail with his boot. As soon as he did, however, he was startled half to death by a flurry of activity around his feet. Four little birds flailed in the dust and ash then scurried away down the hillside.

“The bulk of the mother’s body had covered them from the searing flames. Though the heat was enough to consume her, it allowed he babies to find safety underneath. In the face of the rising flames, she had stayed with her young. She was their only hope for safety, and willing to risk her own life she gathered them under her body and covered them with herself. Even when the pain reached its most unbearable moment, when she could easily have flown away to start another family on another day, she made herself stay through the raging flames.

“Her dead carcass and her fleeing chicks told the story well enough—she gave the ultimate sacrifice to save her young.” [SOURCE: http://lifestream.org/LSBL.

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Our Everlasting Father longs to “gather us together, as a hen gather her chicks under her wings,” but we must be willing to let him do so. He will protect, care for, and keep us, because He is forever faithful; and, like that mother bird, He paid the ultimate sacrifice on the cross to save us from eternal destruction.