One of the hardest parts of parenting is wanting good things for your children that they stubbornly resist. From that first turning of the head against a spoonful of mashed peas to the more serious things of setting ground rules regarding sex, cars, phone use, social media, and drugs, it is a struggle. Parents are often left with an empty feeling that no matter how hard they tried or how much they longed to protect their children, sometimes those efforts are ignored and rejected. Raising children can be filled with unexpected heart ache. Their minds and hearts can turn to stone in their resolve to do things their own way, and it is gut wrenching to watch them have to pay the consequences for their choices and behaviors. Parenting is surely not for sissies!
Jesus must have felt that way about the stubbornness and rejection he received from his beloved Jerusalem. How often he wanted to snatch them up and shelter them in the safety of his wings, like a mother hen does with her chicks. Their refusal to receive him was heartbreaking for him.
37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You who kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to you. How often I wanted to gather your people together, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you didn’t want that. 38 Look, your house is left to you deserted.
Scripture only mentions Jesus crying two times. Once was at the death of Lazarus, as he experienced the extreme grief of sisters Mary and Martha and felt their sorrow over his friend’s death. The other was in this moment as he looked over his beloved city Jerusalem and saw the impending destruction that would result from their rejection of him (see Luke 19:41).
Have you ever loved someone so hard that their rejection caused you physical pain? I have a friend whose daughter was a homeless heroin addict for five years. Every day was a battle of trying to keep her mind from worrying about her daughter and giving control over to God. In the end, her daughter recovered, but the mother still wears the scars of love from that terrible time.
Jesus’ grief is a good reminder to us that he deeply loved even those whom he rebuked. The Scriptures prior to these two verses outline his case against the Pharisees and his accusations about their sinful behavior. But even still, he loved them enough to weep over them and want to shelter and protect them.
Jesus feels the same way about you and me. He wants to gather us up and take care of us. He wants to keep us from the harm of our own decisions and actions. He wants to fend off adversaries and help us to thrive and grow. He wants to mother us.
Are you stubbornly refusing his love? This grieves him, yet he loves you still. It is never too late to come under his wings. There you will find security and hope.
The Shelter of His Wings by Michelle Robertson