So it came to pass in the process of time…(1 Samuel 1:20)
Holidays, resolutions and chickens. It’s like a hot game of TriBond. What do these three things have in common? Read on.
If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic, or a long line at an amusement park, you may have noticed people don’t have a whole lot of patience. However, research seems to indicate frustration isn’t so much about wait-time as it is the lack of distraction during the delay. It’s why elevators have mirrors and doctor’s offices have magazines. Focus creates attitude, which determines “worth the wait”. It’s like counting down the days to a free cruise (yeeesss!) or a root canal. Anticipation vs. dread. Attitude makes all the difference.
1 Samuel 1, tells a story of waiting. Hannah desperately wanted a son. Before Samuel came along, her struggle was long and painful, with no real hope in sight. And to make matters worse, her rival, who had many sons, “provoked her severely”, year after year. This was Hannah’s focus. The Lord had closed her womb and Hannah was inconsolable. She wept and did not eat. Have you ever been so devastated? I have. In fact, for the same reason – I “needed” a baby (even though I already had three). In bitterness of soul, Hannah prayed and wept in anguish until Eli saw and declared her petition granted by the Lord. Therefore, she left, ate and her face was no longer sad. She believed, and it gave her a new focus. Afterwards, not immediately, but in the process of time, she conceived and bore a son. My response to heartache was slightly different. In fear of hearing another “no” from God, or suffering miscarriage again, I stopped listening. Oh, I made my requests known through prayer, but I did not open His Word. This was an ugly, unproductive time in my life. Hence, chickens.
Have you ever seen a chicken in the process of molting? I always think my girls are dying until the feather storm on the coop floor clues me in. Molting can take almost two months and, not only does it halt egg laying, it’s not pretty. The hen is a sad bundle of feathers and bald patches. Within these bald spots are needle-like shafts (eventually to sprout new feathers), filled with veins, which are painful to the touch. Because of this, chickens should be handled with care. So, molting keeps a hen ugly, sensitive and unproductive. But, when it’s all over (just in time for the harsh winter season), she is full, beautiful, able to endure, and back to producing – much like humans after a trial. My struggle also lasted a couple of months. When I shut the Lord out, I missed Him so much, I decided hearing hard things would be better than hearing nothing at all. At that point, I knew a baby couldn’t fulfill my need; I desired God more than anything! Then, after my will was shed, the Lord’s will emerged. Not only did God choose to open my womb one more time, but a love of writing was also born in me.
If you haven’t already guessed it, the TriBond connection is…waiting! We wait for holidays (with anticipation or dread) only for it to be done in a day, we make New Year’s resolutions and wait (not so patiently?) for them to become a reality, and the poor chickens wait (without any control) to be made new. What are you waiting for? God knows. He knows the very number of hairs on your head! That’s pretty impressive for this bald chick, who leaves a “secret ingredient” in every dish she makes (yeah, I know, there goes my invitation to the next potluck). And that’s just one amazing example of His constant love and care for us – a great focus! With that in mind, here’s a worthwhile resolution: Wait on the LORD, Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! (Ps. 27:14)
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.” (Eccl. 3:1)
For chickens, molts happen every year, and although one can be triggered in any season, it usually occurs in the fall. Isn’t that ironic? When we fall, it’s our molting time too. And the warning signs can be just as easily recognized, starting with a change in behavior and separating from the flock. We can’t escape life’s pain any more than we can avoid waiting. So, what do we do during this molting process of becoming more like Christ? The same thing Hannah did – pray hard, surrender, and go your way with a smile. Not that it doesn’t hurt, but trusting that “in the process of time”, something good will come to pass because, eventually, He does make all things beautiful. Use this time to grow closer to the Lord. Let the Almighty be your “distraction” as you rest in the shadow of His wings. In the words of Louisa Stead: ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, Just to take Him at His Word, Just to rest upon His promise, Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”