Her name was Henny Penny.
A cute little black-and-white-feathered chicken.
Let me tell you how she and I became friends.
Many years ago after I was first married, I lived in a small, two-bedroom rental. It was a quaint little place – I really liked it.
Except it was on the corner of an intersection that had all kinds of activity.
Evidently, we were the unknowing tenants who resided on "Dead Man's Curve." In the four years that we lived there, we had at least two bad car accidents, and many near misses.
But I digress.
Suffice it to say, we were used to random *bustle* outside our door.
But one morning, we heard all this shouting. Looking outside the window, we saw several children, yelling and throwing rocks into our yard!
Of course, like an avenging angel, I swooped out and shouted (paraphrased to keep it G-rated), "What are you DOING?"
Amidst a cacophony of high-pitched screeching, we were able to determine that their chicken had "escaped" their backyard up the street, and landed in the tree in our side yard.
They wanted it back.
Well, it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that these kids were hooligans, and that that poor chicken had barely escaped with her life.
We told them that she was in our backyard, and they weren't allowed on our property.
Grumbling threats – (did I hear someone say *cherry bomb*?) – they stomped off. Only to return about half an hour later with a couple of dads in tow.
More shouting, more threats.
However, we basically told them that we weren't about to let anyone climb a ladder on our property (liability), that they’d better stop their kids (brats) from throwing rocks at our house (let alone the chicken), and if she had a mind to stay – well, that was her choice.
I think they came back another time or two. We held our ground. And they gave up.
Well, there she was – Henny Penny – firmly roosted in our tree.
I felt sorry for her.
She'd stay out there all night – in the dark and the cold.
Every time I woke up, I'd see her in the tree. Every time I'd come home after dark, I'd see her in the tree. Even when it rained and stormed, I'd see her in the tree.
A few times I saw her on the ground, but as soon as I opened the back door and went outside, she'd fly back up to the tree for safety.
I remember thinking, "How can I get her to trust me?"
Well, of course it's no surprise that she didn't. After all, who knows what terrible treatment she received at the mercy of those other (horrible) people??
So, I launched a campaign to win her trust.
I'd go out every day and talk to her. I'd say good night every night. I'd put chicken feed out for her on the ground.
After a long time, several weeks as I recall, she'd finally stay on the ground when I was outside. Then, she'd let me get closer and closer to her.
And then…one day…I left the back door open when I went back into the house. She walked up the steps and looked in. But, as soon as I stepped toward her – back to the tree.
Finally, one day she didn't leave. She walked right into my house and let me pick her up!!!
It was so very cool.
From that day forward, she would come into the house every day. I can remember picking her up and putting her on my lap, where she'd nestle in and take a nap while I stroked her little red comb and feathers.
It made me so very happy.
I had finally been able to communicate to her that I wasn't like all the other people she had known. I wasn't mean and vindictive. I was kind and gentle and loving – I could be trusted.
I was thinking about Henny today.
And about trust.
Sometimes, in my relationship with God, I'm just like she was – skittish, unsure, scared, distrustful.
Sometimes I base my trust on my past experiences. I judge God's character by the various "characters" that have peppered my past. I rate His trustworthiness by the people in my life who have hurt, disappointed, rejected, and criticized me.
I stay in the tree.
But isn't there a HUGE part of God's heart that is desperate to show me that HE is not those other people? That He is kind and gentle and loving? That He is eminently worth every ounce of my trust?
It seems to me that in some ways, God is always wooing us "into the house" to rest in His arms. He is always seeking to show us that He is a very safe place to land. He wants us to hide in the shadow of His wings – secure, with no thought of fear.
Yes, I finally won Henny's heart.
But God did an amazing thing to prove His love – He gave up His Son.
Today, I hear Him calling me. I see Him standing in the doorway, beckoning me inside where it's warm and safe.
"Sharon, won't you please come down from that tree?"
I think I will.
It's better than sitting out here in the dark!
Do your past experiences ever keep you from trusting God completely today?
Linked today with Joan at SHARING HIS BEAUTY
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"