Lessons From A Henhouse

The year was 1918. The place was a farm near the Blue Ridge mountains in  Staunton, Virginia. My grandfather was a teenage boy no older than fourteen years of age. His family was sick with a flu virus that was plaguing the country. He was the only one on the farm that had not contracted the deadly virus.

His mother was too weak to prepare any food for the family.  She told Crawford to go to the hen house and pick out the plumpest bird that he could find. He was told to hold the bird by the head and toss it until it broke it’s neck. Then he was to pluck it’s feathers and cook it in a pot to make chicken broth for the family to eat in order to possibly recover and survive.

He had never done this horrible chore before.  He had watched his mother and father do it hundreds of times, though at a great distance so as not to get too upset. He had not entertained the thought that the food he ate was one of his barnyard friends. The barn cats and chickens had become pets to him.  He fed the farm animals every day and had special names for each one. The chickens had bonded with him and communicated with him in a special way.  When he appeared inside the henhouse each morning either at feeding time or when he came to collect their eggs they began cooing and clucking in a unique way to show their affection for him.

Yet, here he was having to go choose one to be a sacrificial meal in order to save his family. Would he choose Henrietta or Geraldine? Both were among his favorites.  One had speckled black and white feathers. The other was brown, the color of caramel.  The eggs they laid were the color of their feathers. Collecting the multi-colored eggs was always a fun chore.

He had loved the chickens as a child.  Now was the day, the boy was to become a man. He was to do a deed that would change him forever.  Though he didn’t want to do it, he had to be brave and step up to the plate. He braced himself, and prayed to God to help him obey his mother in order to rescue his family.

In the bible, in 2 Chronicles, you can read the story of Abraham and Isaac. The loving father had to muster the courage to kill his son. God provided the sacrificial lamb instead but was looking for the obedience of Abraham to lay down the son he loved. This story foretells the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s own son.  God was willing to give up His own son for us so that we would receive forgiveness from our sins. John 3:16.

Our nation is faced with a challenge for bravery during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Each one of us is stepping out into unknown territory during an unprecedented time in history. We have been called upon to do things we have never done before. The future may look bleak or uncertain. We can look to the bible for examples of faith to carry us through this time. We can look to our ancestors and remember stories of how they survived. We must turn to God, through Jesus, who alone has the power to heal and to save us all.

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