By: Lala Ball, Guest Contributor
Patti, a responsible chicken farmer AND a friend of mine from Iowa, Louisiana, right outside of Lake Charles, has a very small mixed flock of laying hens in her backyard. Although Patti would say she doesn’t play favorites when it comes to her chickens, she does have one that has recently become most near and dear to her heart.
Peachy is a Golden Buff hen, a truly beautiful bird. Peachy, along with the others, stays in a small modular chicken house with still plenty of backyard space to free range within an enclosed area. The backyard enclosure, for the most part, keeps Patti’s chickens in and any threats to her little flock at bay. One day, though, Patti was in the house when she heard the hens start to squawk and cackle in a panicked way. Because they’re congenial for the most part and not easily ruffled, Patti went quickly to check on them and there he was—an evil enemy—a dog—a mutt—whom she didn’t recognize with Peachy in his mouth, running and running fast out of Patti’s yard.
So, Patti, as anyone would, gave chase to the dog, screaming at it to drop Peachy; but the dog paid absolutely no attention to her and had her outrun before she even could get out into her own front yard. In fact, Patti got out into the front yard just in time to see the mutt disappear in a quick left turn about two blocks down the street and he still had Peachy in his mouth as he made his getaway.
Now as circumstance would have it, Patti’s across-the-street neighbor heard all the commotion and came out to see Patti trying to run down the mutt that had her chicken. Turning around, the neighbor whistled to his chocolate Labrador Retriever, gave him a command that Patti didn’t hear, and his dog took off after the thieving mutt and ran down the street and out of sight as he gave chase. And the Lab, like the mutt, disappeared around the corner a couple of blocks down from Patti’s house, too.
Those dogs—both of them—were gone—just gone—or so it seemed. Then, as Patti and the neighbor stared down the street for a minute or two, believe it or not, here came the Lab with Peachy in his teeth. Yep. Here he came trotting up those blocks with the little Golden Buff in his mouth.
(Perhaps I should tell you at this point that this really IS a true story. I don’t know if I would have believed it myself except for the fact that Patti is my honest friend and she was the one telling me. This also is the point in the story when I was telling my mother about it, that she said, “Yep. And Peachy was dead, too, wasn’t she?” What an optimistic little Meemaw she is! Because “no,” Peachy was very much alive and completely unharmed.)
The Retriever dropped Peachy at his master’s feet and, though she was a little rattled because of her recent near death experience, her momentary confusion gave Patti a moment to scoop her up and return her to the backyard.
You see, as it turned out, the chocolate Lab is really a great duck hunter. He is his master’s champion Retriever, and duck dogs know how to hold a duck in their mouths gently—without putting teeth in which would ruin the meat. And because his master sent a surprising rescuer who probably scared Peachy every bit as much as the mutt had, Peachy was granted the grace of an extended chicken life during which she can continue her service to Patti’s family by laying eggs faithfully for them each and every day.
So what is the point in these two silly chicken stories? Well, there is one and here it is.
Many of you reading this today may feel the mutt’s teeth around you as you feel a growing desperation in your spirit. You may feel like you are on a collision course with death, or destruction, or discouragement. You may not know which way to turn because nothing seems to be working anymore. You’re exhausted and you have no strength left.
In this situation, you need to remember one thing and it is this: Your Master has a Champion sitting at His right hand. His Champion, your Rescuer, lives with His eyes on you, and when you utter those two simple words in your hour of desperation—“Help, Lord!”—Your Master’s Champion is coming for you.
But here is the deal, and it’s this part of the whole situation that may be causing some of us not only confusion today, but frustration, and needless anxiety. You see, the truth is this: Those teeth that you feel at your throat today may not be the teeth, after all, of the mutt, but may, in fact, actually be the teeth of your Rescuer who has everything under control. It may not seem that way to you anymore than it seemed that way to Peachy as you look at the circumstances that you face. You may be asking yourself over and over, “How in the world can God possibly be in this misery?” This is true whether the source of your misery is someone else or misery that you caused for yourself.
Please breathe deeply for just a minute and think about this: No matter how out of control things feel at this moment, you may very well be on the verge of having all your desperate prayers answered and if that isn’t the case, I know that your Father in heaven is working through everything that you are feeling and facing to bring you into a deeper relationship with Him than you have ever known before even as you wait for His rescue.
Please remember today that delay in an answer to your prayers is not denial and desperation can be a huge source of spiritual energy for you when it causes you to throw yourself completely on God and pray the desperate prayer of “Help, help, Lord.”
Please remember, too, that God is always on time. It may seem like your answer will never arrive and better times will never return, but if God has said it, it will come to pass. You may have to pass through the storm on the way, or through the teeth of a mutt or a Retriever, and you may have to fight some giants like David did in the Old Testament or a lion or two like Daniel. But everyone who has experienced the deliverance of God has had to come to this place. Desperation is a breeding ground for miracles.
So what should you do today? Like before, you keep walking. Refuse to be discouraged. Remember again whose you are. And don’t forget that those teeth that you feel may actually be the teeth of your Rescuer. And if they aren’t, be sure of this—your Rescuer is on the way. Don’t forget either that the One who owns you also has called you. If you continue to walk it out with Him, He will make certain that you get where you need to be. Just keep walking in the direction that He has led.
Father, thank you for allowing us at times in our Christian walk to reach a point of desperation because it is there that we see most clearly that you are with us and have been with us all the time. When we feel those teeth around us, because we know you, Lord, help us to understand that they may very well be the teeth of our Rescuer that you have sent our way. Help us to learn to trust. Help us to understand that the simple prayer of “Help, Lord” is all that you require and you are there—ready to help, ready to protect, ready to rescue, for it is in your Son’s name that I pray. Amen.