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January 27, 2021

Felecia Wesley: Stay close to the Lord to avoid the hawks

By Felecia T. Wesley

Long ago in the West African country of Liberia when growing up as a child, we had lots of chickens and their chicks walking around the yard.

We were used to seeing them because they live among us. Therefore, due to this abundance, we had constant visitation from the hawks. Our parents would warn us to keep on the lookout for them.

The hawks came late in the afternoon to early evening to catch the baby chicks. As I can recall, one hawk came at a time to attack. Sometimes if it was a busy day, there were multiple attacks, which made it very miserable for the chickens and more work for us children. We had to do all the yielding to drive the hawks away.

The cluck, cluck, calling sound by the mother hen to her chicks signaled that a hawk was nearby. During this time, the mother hen would gather her little chicks under her wings and they would remain there until the hawk was out of sight.

However, at other times, I would watch while the chickens were busy with their daily routines of digging in the dirt for food or worms or maybe just relaxing under the shade; the hawk would make its appearance in an unsuspected manner and make a swift descend like an airplane right into the chickens. It would ascend as quickly as it came down.

Sometimes, it missed. Other times, it took away a baby chick. During the times the hawk missed, there would be a very loud clucking sound of the chickens that alerted us children and adults as well. At such times, we rushed to the site of the chickens, clapping our hands and making loud noise to scare the hawk away.

Notwithstanding, during other times when the hawk was successful in carrying away the chick, there was a fierce battle between the two adults. The hen would not let her chick be taken without a fight. She would spring up and down to get her chick back, but with her limited flying skills, she posed no threat to the powerful and super flying ability of the hawk. The mother hen would disappointingly and defiantly cover her remaining chicks under her protective wings.

This was a constant and almost daily encounter. One thing I pondered as a child was where the hawk took the baby chicks. But we were told by the adults that when the hawk catches a baby chick it took it to its next high up in the tree to feed its own baby hawks. So, as the saying goes, whenever you see a hawk hovering around, there are baby chicks nearby.

The hawk and hen story reminds me about the Christian life. The Lord Jesus said in John 10:10, that he came that we may have life. He provides protection and blessings for those that will heed his voice and follow him.

However, in order to enjoy this provision and protection from the Lord, we must abide in him as the chicks abide under the wings of their mother. Jesus also said in John 15:5, that we can do nothing except we abide in him. The hawk on the other hand, is compared to the devil as a roaring lion according to 1 Peter 5:8, seeking whom he may devour, whom we must resist fiercely.

Even though, sometimes we may lose a battle here and there like the hen, we must be on the alert at all times, staying close to the Lord and trusting in his everlasting arms that are sufficient to hide us in the time of trouble.

Felecia T. Wesley lives in Salisbury.

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