When in Grief Come to Mother Hen – Grief and Loss Part 1

What would it be like to never lose?  

Photo Credit: leoncillo sabino via Compfight cc
In everything you do, you are a success. Every sport you play you win, every time. I think it would mean that life would be less colourful. There would be no sense of uncertainty and potential surprise.

None of us like to lose though do we, we always want to win. 

Also none of us like the thought of loss. 

That feeling of emptiness, of not having something important in our lives, something we possibly have enjoyed and embraced for some time and then it’s taken away. Or it might be something that we have always wanted but now we realise that we will never have.

C.S. Lewis wrote 

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world. C.S.Lewis

And certainly we were made for another world. A world where we never were to experience the sense of loss, of grief, of disappointment and of sadness. Deep down in all of us we have a desire for relationship that can fills our loneliness, yet in reality we may taste it ever so briefly and infrequently.

I think back to my first experience of grief and loss. 

I was probably about 8 or 9 and I was at camp. When it came to dinner time I was unable to eat what everybody else was able to eat because it had egg in it. I have an allergy to egg. I remember feeling completely alone, that I was different, that I couldn’t participate in what others were enjoying, I was cut off from some thing relationally with others. 

Now I don’t want people making a huge fuss over me because I have an allergy. But I learnt on that day, possibly for the first time, what it was like to experience loss.

You too may have had that same feeling of loss when for various reasons you have realised that you have missed out on something precious that others enjoy. 

Here are a few examples that I have found in people as I have listened to their stories

  • Not being able to have had children 
  • Not getting married 
  • Being adopted and not knowing who your father was 
  • Not having a career 
  • A father or mother dying at an early age and the impact this has on the children 
  • A son or daughter being disabled by accident or something else and the loss of the potential future they had 
  • A husband or wife dying and the loss of this relationship to their spouse 

There are probably many other examples that you could think of, ones that may apply more personally to you, but we all experience loss and grief. 

Its common to everyone that we have all experienced loss and to some degree we grieve and mourn for what could have been. As C.S. Lewis puts it, we were made for another world.

Do you think God experiences this sense of loss, a sense of grief? 

I actually think God does. 

The scriptures are full of stories of people and how God wants relationship with them yet they reject him. He even sends his son Jesus to them to invite them into this relationship with him, yet we nail him to a cross. 

The heart of God is always reaching out to us wanting us to come.

Jesus knows this pain of loss. He experienced it himself. There are passages that record Jesus crying, but there is one in particular that shows the deep grief and pain he experiences when we reject him.

Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Your people have killed the prophets and have stoned the messengers who were sent to you. I have often wanted to gather your people, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. But you wouldn’t let me. Now your temple will be deserted. You won’t see me again until the time when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” Luke 13:34-35

Jesus starts off his lament by saying the name Jerusalem twice. He then goes on to explain that he has sent prophets and messengers to the city to get them to turn back to him. Yet they rejected all of his appeals. He uses a story to describe what he would like to have done had they allowed him. 

He wanted to gather them under his wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks

What a tender picture of love, and those listening to him would have remembered some other passages where God demonstrates a similar love.

Israel, the LORD discovered you in a barren desert filled with howling winds. God became your fortress, protecting you as though you were his own eyes. The LORD was like an eagle teaching it’s young to fly, always ready to swoop down and catch them on its back. Deuteronomy 32: 10-11

Show your wonderful love. Your mighty arm protects those who run to you for safety from their enemies. Protect me as you would your very own eyes; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8

I, the LORD All-Powerful, will protect Jerusalem like a mother bird circling over her nest. Isaiah 31:5

He will spread his wings over you and keep you secure. His faithfulness is like a shield or a city wall. Psalm 91:4

After talking about his sense of loss at there rejection of him he points out the consequence of there choice of rejecting him. 


You see when a chick doesn’t go to mother hen when she calls, then it is completely isolated from the protection that its mother can offer it. 

It’s on its own to face the storms, to face the predators that would love to eat it. 

If it had run to the protection of mother hen, then it would have been all right.

Jesus then moves on to quote a section of scripture from Psalm 118:26. “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” As I looked up this passage in my Bible it has a title to the chapter – The LORD Is Always Merciful. This is a Psalm all about the Lords mercy. 

Five times it talks about his mercy.

Jesus is saying that God is always full of mercy, God always has a wing stretched up and inviting us in.

Where do you go when you experience that sense of loss? 

When you feel that pain, regret, and grief. 
Do you

  • Isolate yourself, don’t go near anybody, withdraw. 
  • Use drugs, alcohol to dull the pain, hit the bottle etc. 
  • Bury yourself in busyness; try and run away from it by working harder. 
  • Make light of it, put on a happy face and pretend to everyone that everything is ok, yet it isn’t. 
  • Lash out at others in their hurt.
I would suggest that Jesus would say ‘come to Mother Hen’. 

Come and experience his tender care, his mercy, his comfort. Spend time in honest prayer with him, cry if you like, he understands tears.

This is what Jesus said himself about mourning.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4
“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. Matthew 5:4 (The Message)

Come to Jesus. 
Come and know that he embraces you in your distress.

Questions to consider and leave a comment.
  • What experiences of grief have you had? 
  • Where did you find comfort? 
Barry Pearman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *