A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Henny Penny

February 26th, 2007

A couple years ago at about 4 o’clock in the morning I woke up sharply, thinking it had to be a dream. I’m not in Iowa anymore so it can’t be what I think I heard. I put head to pillow when I heard it again. This time Palmer heard it, too, and he hit the doggie door growling and barking like he was going after something from an alien planet.

For him, it was. A rooster.

In a metro area of 3 million people I’m being jarred from sleep by a rooster. Try telling your 12-year old dog who’s never even seen a chicken that it’s nothing to get excited about.

The lot behind my house is known around here as a “horse property”. Even though the city has grown up around it, it’s still under zoning that allows for animals. This particular family keeps a cow or two, several horses, the occasional sheep and goat, and now apparently a rooster and some chickens.

Next morning at 4 AM, same Green Acres wake up call. This can’t be happening.

Didn’t hear the rooster again after that. Bumped into the owner a few days later. He said, “Had to get rid of it. Too many people complaining. So I just kept the chickens.”

One of the chickens thought the grass might be greener on the other side of the alley and made a break for it. She made herself at home in my next door neighbor’s yard and never left.

They call her “Henny Penny”. A beautiful bird, as chickens go. All black and all attitude. Henny Penny rules the roost. Which is impressive, seeing as how they also have three big dogs and a tom cat.

According to my neighbor Donna, “She flew in over the fence one day and just sat up in the tree. I thought the dogs would kill her as soon as she hit the ground. But she has no fear. She made a nest and lays eggs in the oleander bush. She hangs out with the dogs and comes in the back door with them to eat out of their dish.  The kicker for me was when I came out one morning and saw Henny Penny and the tom cat sitting next to each other on the porch. She’s got attitude for sure.”

Henny Penny’s a chicken. Which is a bird. Which is a cat’s lunch. So either Henny Penny has above average relational skills or she communicates an intimidating self-assurance. Watching her strut across my driveway from time to time, I can see why the cat would choose to peacefully co-exist.

Chickens aren’t what we normally look to as examples of bravado, but I’m learning something from Henny Penny. Something about confidence.
Life being what it is, we all get run over sooner or later. Maybe it’s a situation that didn’t turn out well and you’ve assumed the negative end result as your identity going forward. Maybe someone’s been giving you a verbal and emotional beat down over a long period of time and the only thing you feel confident doing is opening a bag of chips and hiding from the world. Maybe it’s something that’s your fault and God’s forgiven and forgotten but you’re stuck in the mud of your mistake; unable to forgive yourself. Whether the bus ran you over or you were driving when it crashed, you’re stuck. Spinning your wheels, pinned down by guilt and fear.

When we’re beat down, it’s easy to feel like we have nothing to offer. Humanly speaking, that’s true. The Bible says that “we all sin and fall short of the glory of God”. On our own merit, we bring nothing to God’s table. Were that the end of it, we’d all be doomed to a life of futility.

But God goes on to say that when we believe in Jesus and His sacrificial death on the cross, we are “a new creation”. We are no longer defined by our human failings. We are now defined by who we are in Christ; a person forgiven, saved, justified, and standing tall in the grace of God. Because of what God did we are “no longer under a spirit of bondage again to fear” but rather should possess the confidence of God’s children; fully adopted, fully accepted and fully loved. (Romans 8:15-17)

Henny Penny doesn’t act like a chicken.

Neither should we.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7