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We Never Know Who We Have in the Basket

If you missed the previous article entitled "A Chicken's Right to Choose" in the October issue, you may want to read it before you read further. If you cannot find that issue, you can go to and click on the Monthly Devotional tab and read it there.

What a fine sight. The red hen, her three young roosters and four very beautiful pullets. This is the hen I previously wrote about that made the choice to do everything she could to save the lives of these chicks--even to the point of enduring being eaten alive by fire ants who were trying to kill her hatching babies. She could not save them all, but she was willing to die trying.

I have enjoyed so much watching this hen and her little chicks run around the yard and interact with one another through the different stages of their development. I remember how at first she clucked to them almost continuously to keep them close to her side. At night when it was cool, she would sit with her wings spread on the ground and every now and then you would see a little head pop out here and there--sometimes from under a wing, sometimes from under her breast, sometimes from under her tail. It was hard to figure out how she could lie down and keep them all covered up, and yet they had enough room to move around so freely underneath her. I would guess that in the early days, even though she was lying down, she was not resting. Her legs still bore some of her own weight so that the chicks could stay warm and safe without being crushed. Even when she rested, she still bore the burden of putting her babies comfort and safety ahead of her own.

I remember how protective the mother hen was of the chicks when they were little. Whenever a threat was perceived, just one loud cluck would bring all the chicks running to her where she would cover them with her wings--again willing to give her life to protect the lives of her babies. If I got too close or if I managed to catch a chick and it started chirping, she would come after me. Knowing that she did not stand a chance to defeat me, she was still instinctively willing to take me on regardless of the danger to herself.

As the chicks grew, they became more and more independent and began to wander off a little further each day in directions of their own choosing. This was particularly the case for one little white rooster. He would always wander further than the others. It was evident that not only did they all have their own distinctive looks and coloring, they also had their own individual personalities and behaviors. They were all fine chicks and were equally cared for by their mother.

The picture you see above was taken the day I finally had to catch and put them in the pen with our other chickens. (Lisa is allergic to chickens scratching in her flower beds!) As you can see, they are almost fully grown now and will soon reach their full potential and independence. The pullets will soon be laying eggs of their own and the roosters will soon be proudly crowing at the crack of dawn. Other than minor color variances, they all looked pretty much alike at birth, but now they all have a look of their own.

Not all the eggs the hen set on hatched and not all the chicks that hatched that day made it to this point. One died at hatching and one died at about five weeks of age of a heart attack when he bit an electric fence. But seven of the nine did survive and have made it to maturity, able to fulfill what God created them to be. They bonded with their mama and with one another as they lived life together. They frolicked, played, explored and occasionally fought one another while they were growing up. They would fill up with feed in the morning and then perch together and sleep in the sunshine. At night, they would all roost in an old nesting

box and as they got older in a nearby fig tree. They have enjoyed the life given to them and we have enjoyed watching them grow.

I do not know how the two that died early or the five that died in the egg would have turned out or why they had to die early. What I do know is that the seven that did survive have made beautiful useful chickens that I am proud to own and have in my flock. I know that they were well worth all the hardship, pain and sacrifice that the mother hen went through to give them the chance of life and if she has the opportunity to sneak away again to make another nest, she will do it all over again regardless of the costs.

When I reflect on this story, I am reminded of a song that speaks to the issue of God having a plan for every life. We never know what our children will look like, what their personalities will be, what experiences they will face (good or bad), or what their future holds. But we do know that each precious one is 'created' by God in His own image, that God has a plan for their lives and that He holds their future. He told Jeremiah: "Before 'I' formed you in your mother's womb 'I knew you', before you were born, 'I set you apart'..." (Jer 1:5)

Read the words of this song:

In The Basket:

A little baby placed in a basket, was put in a river to save his soul, a Hebrew son, his name was Moses, he was found by the house of Pharaoh.

They didn't know who they had in the basket, didn't know who he'd become, didn't know from the cradle to the casket, he would be the chosen one.

We're holding children that we believe in, yet there are many we've set aside, so many people within our basket, we've got to stop and realize.

We don't know who we have in the basket. We don't who they'll become. That is why from the cradle to the casket, we must share with everyone.

No matter their sin, nor where they have been, on them we must never give up. Don't leave them alone. Don't pick up a stone. He faithfully lifted them up.

We don't know who we have in the basket. We don't who they'll become. That is why from the cradle to the casket, we must share with everyone.

We never know who we have in the basket, what God's plan for them is or who they will become. What we do know is that God has created each one of them for His purposes.

Regardless of our circumstances or the hardship they may cause in our lives, we have absolutely no right to choose whether or not a child (born or unborn) should have life! Instead, we have the responsibility to nurture, protect and equip them to reach the full potential of their life, even if it costs us our own. This is a very dramatic truth seen in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus--a very simple lesson from the choice of a hen.

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