“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.” (Mt. 23:37, NIV)
Do you hear the longing in Jesus’ words? His heart doesn’t just go out to people who get it all right, model students, perfect children— His heart goes out to the prodigals, the rebels, the ones who would spit in their own fathers’ faces. But even though Jerusalem has rejected God’s repeated overtures of love toward her, even though she has killed God’s messengers of peace, even though Jerusalem will in a few days abuse and murder Him, too, Jesus longs to embrace these wayward ones. He loves them. He wants to be near them. He wants to draw them under His wings so they can experience His love and care for them. Just like a mother bird cares for and protects her chicks.
Do you ever feel as if God couldn’t love you? That you just don’t have your act together enough for Him to want to be around you? Well, that’s not at all how He feels. Whether you’ve had a good or bad day, whether you’ve lived a good life or a bad one, He yearns for you.
Let this image of tiny birds tucked under their mother’s wings guide you into reflection about God’s love and longing. What would it feel like to be a baby bird under its mother’s protection? Can you let your soul draw near to Jesus so you can experience His gentle strength and faithful love? Spend a few minutes silently enjoying His love and protection. Then tell Him whatever is on your heart.