There was a chicken on the road ahead of me this morning. It’s a pretty regular occurrence here, as they are everywhere.
Mama chickens, roosters (who, Kellogg’s commercials notwithstanding, do not limit their crowing to dawn!), little baby chicks… it’s a rare road where there isn’t at least one form of poultry or another attempting to cross.
The chicken this morning wasn’t crossing, but was running in the middle of the road. I slowed down, waiting for it to run to the side. Instead, it added a Barry Sanders weaving movement, but kept on going down the middle.
I silently pleaded with it to notice the safe, obstruction-free side of the road. Instead, it kept glancing back, its weaving becoming more frantic and more frantic as I slowly crept behind it.
Chickens aren’t smart. Trust me, I worked in poultry for nearly 10 years, and they’re pretty dumb. But, as I watched that chicken this morning, I had to admit, I often look like that.
There is something big and destructive coming up behind me. Perhaps it’s a temptation, a situation, a person. Perhaps it’s a recurring doubt or fear. Whatever it is, it’s on its way. Unlike my car, however, it usually doesn’t slow down! Instead, it comes right for me.
My first mistake, of course, is being in a place where danger lurks. There is no real reason for a chicken to be in the center of the road. There’s no food there, and pitted dirt roads aren’t any smoother in the middle. But, there it was.
I, too, seem drawn to places/circumstances where I shouldn’t be. I know a certain situation has caused me to stumble in the past. But, since for now the coast seems clear, I head on back.
All is well, until I hear the rumble behind me. Glancing back, the sin/temptation/stumbling block is right behind me. Quick, take evasive action!
But, my panicked heart and head cannot think straight, and so I start to run. When that’s not enough, I add my ‘special moves’, trying in vain to pull myself out of a situation quickly getting out of my control.And, all the while, safety is just a few steps away. The chicken got so panicked that all it could do is run forward. This is me, too. I get so caught up in flight-mode that I cannot see a way out. I panic, straining to outrun whatever is coming behind me.
My car would have killed the chicken if I hadn’t slowed way down. Unfortunately, sin and temptation are not the slightest bit worried about casualties. Or, rather, they are.
And, so, we need to plan ahead. Stay out of those places we know are problems. When we find ourselves in one despite our best efforts, we need to fight our self-focused panic, and call for help.It can be difficult when our breath is ragged from panting as we attempt to escape on our own. But, until we do, we’re like that chicken. No matter how hard it tried, it was never going to outrun me in its own strength and scrawny legs.
We, too, haven’t got the power in ourselves. But, Our loving Father has promised that even when temptations come, if we call on Him, He will provide a way out.
I pray that the next time I am in a situation when temptation is chasing me, I will remember that chicken, futilely bobbing and weaving, wearing itself out when safety was so close.
I pray I will choose to stay off those roads that are filled with danger, and instead seek to stay in the center of God’s will, where no matter the twists and turns, I am truly safe.