“Glenn, I got the pathology report back, and I’m afraid I don’t have any good news.” Well, as you can guess from this statement, the news from the Veterinarian from the State Diagnostic Laboratory wasn’t going to be what I wanted to hear.
I have always been and am still a believer in utilizing the services of the State’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to investigate and identify the causes of deaths of my livestock. This practice not only helps me keep my herds and flocks disease free, but it also helps to protect my customers and the agricultural industry as a whole. If I lose an animal, it goes to the diagnostic lab. Sometimes, the news is not what I want to hear, but it is always better to know you have a problem so you can try to find a cure, than it is to ignore it or try to cover it up and have to suffer even greater consequences later on.
This particular problem had to deal with two hens that died within a couple of days of one another. They did not show any symptoms of sickness, they just died. The diagnosis was a bacterial respiratory disease called MG Mycoplasma. This disease is common in backyard chicken flocks, turkeys and even wild birds. It is much like some of the diseases in cattle where the affected cows most often survive the disease, but they will always be carriers and pass it on to others and to their offspring. It is not a threat to humans and does not affect the quality of the meat or the eggs for food purposes, but it does affect the egg production, weight gain and feed efficiency of the affected animals.
In this particular case, the disease is most commonly spread from the hen to the egg—so the baby chicks are hatched already infected. They are born with the disease!
The State’s Vet Office contacted me the next day to discuss our options. After a lengthy discussion of the few available viable options, it was decided that the best thing to do to protect my interests, and the interests of the industry, the State and the local producers, was to ‘depopulate’ in order to ‘eradicate’ the disease in my flock, especially since I live just ¼ mile from a major commercial hatchery. There would be costs for everyone involved regardless of what course of action I took. If I killed my flock that I had invested months of hard work and a lot of money to build, I would lose the chickens and the income from the eggs. If I didn’t depopulate to eradicate the disease and there was an outbreak, it could affect the livelihood of thousands of others around the state.
What was I to do? When I thought about what Jesus had done for me, I knew I only had one moral choice. God looked at me and He saw my sin. It was not only a death sentence for me, it was hurting others. Not only was it hurting others, but because of His love for me, it was hurting Him. My sin separated me from fellowship and relationship with the very One who created me, knew me and loved me before the foundation of the world. My disease however was not an isolated or contained problem. Through Adam, it had already spread to all people, in all places, at all times throughout history. We are all guilty. We are all born infected by a sinful nature that we inherited. No one is exempt or immune.
What was a loving but holy God to do? He could have chosen to depopulate in order to eradicate, but instead, because of His great love for us, He sent His Son Jesus to “expiate” in order to “propitiate”. Jesus came to take our sin from us and place it upon Himself. In taking away our sin, He also took upon Himself the full wrath of a Holy God, which was the punishment for our sin. He took our sin and our punishment upon Himself so that God could see us as righteous and sinless. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Cor5:21)
In the person of Jesus, we see God face to face. We see God as He is and we see ourselves as we should be. In Jesus, we see our sin disease and find our cure. In Him we are offered forgiveness and eternal life.
He gave up His life as a love sacrifice to give us life! Thankfully, the story does not end with the death of Jesus. He rose from the dead, defeating death and forever conquering the power and the penalty of sin. He died for us to take away our sin, to enable us to live Godly lives, take away the punishment for our sin, and to offer us eternal life.
The bad news is, just like the diseased chick, you and I have inherited a deadly disease. We are all guilty, born with a nature to sin against a Holy God, and we will all die as a result of our sin.
The Good News is Jesus and what He has done for us in taking our sin and punishment upon Himself on the cross and then rising from the dead. If we put our faith in Him, turn from our sin, and surrender our lives to Him, we too will rise again with imperishable bodies to live life to the fullest with Him and with one another, for all eternity! (1Corinthians 15).
In reality, because Jesus rose from the dead and conquered death, we too will rise to live for eternity. The real question is where and how we will live in eternity. Unless we personally accept what Christ has done for us, we are destined to an eternity of suffering and anguish in a place called Hell. But, Jesus came and paid the price to offer us forgiveness and eternal life in Heaven. (John 3:16-18)
Aren’t you glad He chose to expiate and propitiate instead of depopulate to eradicate?