“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” – Matthew 18:12 (NIV)
Last night, as the evening sky grew dim, I went out to the chicken coop to make sure all the chickens were safe, and to close up the hen house. We keep the Roosters separate from the hens, and we count them before leaving to make sure everyone has come in for the night. Last night, I counted 12 Roosters. We currently have 13. That is more than the average chicken owner has, or should have, but it’s what we’ve got, and we are making the best of it right now. Anytime we’re missing one of them, I think of the above verse from Matthew, and decide to do my best to search for the rouge animal.
I recounted, and got the same number: 12. A thought hit me. I rescanned, and realized I was correct. We have a white rooster that, on occasion, decides he wants to sleep in the trees instead of in the safe haven of the coop. Normally, we can understand his decision. It’s a nice night, he wants to be out of the stuffy coop…etc. But last night it was a befuddlement of reasoning. It was pouring down rain, a cold wind was blowing, and the leaves of the tree had blown off, offering no protection from any elements.
I went to the tree that he normally roosts in, and there he was. Standing tall in the torrent of rain. It didn’t even make sense. I admonished him, “You silly Rooster, get down and go inside where it’s dry!” because don’t we all talk to our animals? He remained, stoic. He was drenched, but if a Rooster could, he radiated pride. “We’re both wet! You can’t be happy! Get down!” He would not. I checked the base of the tree and found a stick.
Gently (because I’m not a monster) I poked at him. The bottom of his feet, the back of his legs. Irritating him just enough that it made him uncomfortable to sit in the same position. He fussed back at me, re-adjusting and trying to stay on his branch. “I’m doing this for your benefit, you silly thing! I’m trying to move you to where it’s safe!” More fussing, more re-adjusting, more pride. “Okay, fine! I’ll irritate you all night if I have to!”
Eventually, he jumped down from his perch. But did he run into the safety of the coop? Nope. He ran past it. “Seriously?? What is wrong with you? Why don’t you trust me??? I’m trying to keep you safe!!” I finally herded him into the coop.
As I made the trek back to the house, soaked but proud I had managed to protect this silly little creature, I was gobsmacked by irony.
The Lord- (Clears throat) “Ahem.”
Me- “Ohhhhhh. I see what you did there.”
The lesson I took away from this 15 minute ordeal was a strong one. Maybe decisions that we think are a good one at the time, are really nothing more than us standing out in the rain, with chests puffed out, defying anyone to change us or our environment. And maybe we should trust that when Life’s little irritations come our way, they might actually be being used as a gentle guide to change our current circumstance, or a way to keep us safe.