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chasing chickens

The late Christian author Doris Betts was known for her short stories and essays. In one of those stories she tells about driving down the highway in North Carolina and seeing a highway patrolman beside the road. That’s not an unusal sight. What he was doing was quite unusual (maybe not for North Carolina!).

As Betts got closer to the police officer, she noticed that a truck hauling chickens had veered off the road, the crash causing the back of the truck to come apart. The chickens were running free — or for their life, whichever way you want to look at it.

The driver of the truck was frantically trying to gather the chickens. Some people who had observed the crash were actually trying to steal the chickens.

Chicken parts were everywhere. The scene was a mix of horror and humor, and the lone patrolman was trying to bring order out of the chaos — to little avail.

That’s us, wrote Doris Betts. Life is often chaotic, a mix of horror and humor, ups and downs, victories and tragedies. And there we are, just like that North Carolina patrolman, trying to bring order, meaning, and stability to our lives.

In our marriage relationships, we often feel like we’re trying to recapture the chickens. We get pulled this direction, then that direction. When we finally get one problem solved, two more crop up. Some friends are trying to help; others are more of a hindrance.

The key question is this: Do we allow God to bring order, meaning, and stability to the chaos? Left to our own power, we will never bring about the order, meaning, and stability that we desire. We will run ourselves crazy trying to recapture the chickens.

The good news is, God has promised to work in our lives — if we will let him.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:31-32


One of my favorite authors is Ken Gire and he wrote a wonderful book about how to finding peace in the midst of chaos. It is called At Peace in the Storm.