Naomi Kee - Visiting Worker to Maroota - 2012

Hymn 195, Lord, We Rest in Peace Abiding

Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Jesus had a great desire to gather the people of Jerusalem under His wings, like a hen gathers her chickens. He has the same desire for us, to gather us so close to Him. Jesus speaks quite a lot about the people of Jerusalem in this chapter, the scribes and Pharisees. He realized what their faults were; He spoke of their pride and seeking the chief seats, washing the outside of the cup and leaving the inside unclean. They took care of the outside of their lives for a show. Jesus knew what they were like, yet He desired to gather them under His wings.

Jesus knows all our weaknesses and faults, all the mistakes we have ever made in life, but He doesn’t despise us.

Whatever our past has been, Jesus wants to draw us so close to Him. The warmth of God’s love is there under Jesus’ wings. Since I have been here these weeks, I have felt the warmth of the love of His people and His servants, and it is so beautiful to feel the warmth of God’s love in our own lives. “There is healing for our sorrow.” There is wonderful healing for wounds that have happened this year and healing for wounds that have happened many years ago. I like to think that Jesus can cleanse even the deepest wounds. There has to be cleansing in a wound before it can heal.

Jesus can take away the feeling of injustice. Jesus knows the past of our lives and there is wonderful healing if we are willing to come closer under His wings. There is wonderful safety there. As an infant, I was taken to Gospel meetings with my parents. As a teenager, I realized I was outside of it all and I had to make a choice. I resisted, maybe feeling it would spoil my life, but through those months I resisted, I had such a fear of death. I had a fear that there would be an accident and I would die, not reconciled to God. I am thankful that God in His tenderness kept speaking to my heart and brought me to the place where I yielded my life. I remember such a deep feeling of safety. I thought, “It doesn’t matter now if we have an accident, my life is safe in God’s hands.”

A young wife and mother in France was hurt just a few years ago. Her trust was betrayed and a serious illness followed, but it has been so special for us to see the healing because she took refuge under the wings of her Master. Instead of bitterness, there is softness and peace. This healing can give us a deeper relationship with God if we accept it. I love to think of the peace there is under Jesus’ wings. It doesn’t matter if there has been years of resisting God’s will.

I love to think of a mother hen calling her chicks when there is danger; they come under her wings with their hearts beating so fast and they feel their mother’s slow, steady heartbeat and it calms them down. We can feel the calm, constant heartbeat of Jesus and even if there are things that have agitated our spirits, come close and feel His heartbeat and it can bring a steadying and calming effect into our lives.

I have enjoyed thinking of that steady, unchanging heartbeat of Jesus. Something that never changed in Jesus’ life was love. When His family, and even when the scribes and Pharisees mistreated Him, He still showed love and more love, unchanging. I like to think of that as being the steady heartbeat of our Master. When we get close enough under His wings, we can be influenced by His heartbeat.

Something else that was so steady and constant was this matter of forgiveness. No matter what anyone did, Jesus forgave again and again. Even His dying words on the cross were, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Something else that was so steady and unchanging was His submission to His Father’s will. He never questioned His Father’s plan, He accepted with full submission. Sometimes we question, “Is there not another way?” But we are thankful when we take refuge under Jesus’ wings and feel the steady heartbeat of Jesus. Submission to God’s will is the only way.

I love thinking about the privilege that Jesus is calling us into such a close relationship with Himself. I remember visiting some of our friends in a care home and there was an enclosure with a hen and ten little chicks. We went to have a look and the mother hen sensed danger and called her chicks. Some were closer and more sensitive and they hurried under her wings. Others were not so sensitive but she kept calling and they got under her wings too. But one little chick didn’t seem to hear his mother’s call; he was an independent spirit and didn’t take notice. We waited to see what would happen. The hen loved him and sensed danger and kept on calling and eventually the 10th little chick turned around and came under her wings, too. We are thankful for the mercy and patience of our Saviour. He wants us all to be sheltered in the safe place under His wings. He doesn’t want us to try and deal with our sorrows and grief alone.

Gwenda told us about the mother hen that perished in the fire, but she shielded her little chicks. I love to think of our Saviour who was willing to pay the price to give us eternal life. I am so thankful that He has called us under His wings. Psalm 57:1, "Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.” Sometimes it seems like that in life, but we are thankful for the greatest refuge there is, under the wings of our Saviour. All those years ago, Jesus’ desire was to call Jerusalem under His wings. There is no other place where we can feel so much love, warmth, peace and security as under His wings. I am thankful for the patience of Jesus, still calling, still waiting to welcome us. May we all be like those little chicks and not resist, but come under His wings.