One of my favorite images for God in the Bible is the hen sheltering her chicks under her wings.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of your wings!
Psalm 61:4 (NLT)
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him….
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:2,4 (NLT)
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 36:7 (NLT)
These are favorite verses of preachers and writers searching for more stereotypically feminine attributes of God, and one of the reasons I like them so much. They bring up images that are nurturing and cozy.
Sometimes we just need comfort and a little warmth, and those sheltering wings snuggling us close sounds just right. But life is not always cozy. Storms of all kinds descend on us (and sometimes we create them ourselves).
For those times, I like the image of God-as-hen from the video at the beginning. God is sheltering us under his wings, but we are wet and cold and suffering. It is far better to be with God than exposed to our storms on our own, but it isn’t necessarily going to be comfortable.
I am comforted by the assurance that my sadness or my misery in a stormy situation doesn’t mean that God isn’t with me, isn’t sheltering me: I am protected, but things are still kind of lousy.
Isn’t that just how life feels sometimes?