Good news, poultry fans, here comes another chicken story.
In my last column, I wrote about our chickens’ misguided desire for more freedom than they can handle. One day after that column was published, Bailey the very big dog did indeed frolic too roughly with one of our birds who’d roamed into the pasture. When my husband and our grandson Walter found the unlucky hen, Ruby, she was still alive but appeared to be on the verge of boarding the train to chicken heaven.
Joe and Walter brought Ruby to the house, laid her in a box, and gave her some water, and we waited to see if she’d last the night. I suggested to Walter that we pray for her, so we did, but inside I was feeling like the guy in the Bible who said, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.”
A friend who is a physical therapist and critter lover was also at our house that evening and after checking Ruby out, Heidi suspected our hen had suffered a spinal injury. Our hen’s future looked mighty bleak at that point.
Much to our surprise, Ruby was still alive the next morning. Heidi came back over to check her out and offered to take her home to try to rehab her, even though chicken therapy definitely wasn’t part of her medical training.
Heidi texted me pictures of Ruby’s progress every day, and I sent regular updates to Walter and his two sisters, but we still didn’t know if our chicken would pull through. I really hoped this wouldn’t be one of those difficult lessons about how God hears our prayers but doesn’t always give us the answer we want. It’s no small thing to climb out on a limb in prayer when you’re taking three precious young souls with you.
Well, I’m delighted to report that as of this writing, Ruby is still clucking and it seems God has gone to rather extraordinary lengths to bring her back from the brink. Heidi takes in foster kids for emergency one-night placements and a teen girl who stayed at her house while Ruby was “hospitalized” there also happened to have previously made a neck splint for an injured chicken her family owned. What are the odds of that?
With that splint on, Ruby could stand on her own and lift her head — a huge step in her recovery. Though not yet fully recovered, she’s come a long, long way.
The day after Ruby got hurt, I heard a speaker share a famous story that made me glad I’d taken the opportunity to pray with Walter for God to heal our chicken. The story was about a chess champion who was visiting a home (some accounts say a museum) and stood for a long time staring at a painting that depicted Satan and a young man playing a game of chess for the soul of the man, who appeared defeated and distraught.
After analyzing the positions of all the pieces on the board in the painting, the chess master announced to his companions that the game wasn’t, in fact, over because the young man’s king still had another move.
Such is the hope of everyone who places their trust in God. Our King always has another move. And sometimes that move can be as improbable as sending a teenager who happens to know how to make a neck splint for a chicken to the home of a physical therapist who happens to have a paralyzed chicken in her laundry room.
If Ruby were able to process such lofty things in her wee little chicken brain, she’d be very thankful her fate didn’t depend upon the faith of the one praying for her, but upon the infinitely powerful and resourceful King to whom I prayed.
Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!” She can be reached at email@example.com.