Posted by: karanoel | May 1, 2020

Chicks and faith

Audio version of this post:


Though we live in suburbia, parts of our county allow for animals that would be normally found on a farm or in a petting zoo, like the chickens, roosters and goats happily clucking and bleating on Strider’s property directly behind us. After the quarantine began, John got the idea to build a coop and buy half a dozen chicks from Strider to inhabit it. Though I’d never considered owning chickens, having something to look forward to in the near future seemed like a brilliant idea, especially during such a time as this. So John began work on what I deemed his quarantine “sanity project” while I anticipated our future life with chickens.

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Instead of selling us chicks, Strider surprised us by handing an incubator over our shared fence, along with 42 eggs to put inside. In response to my clear uncertainty in our ability to bring life out of a few cartons of eggs, he said, “It’s a breeze! The incubator is already set and calibrated. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing.” “Maybe it works that way for others,” I thought, “but this is me we’re talking about.” He followed up with a few basic instructions, ending with, “Keep however many you want and I can take the rest back.”

We found a good spot in our dining room for the styrofoam incubator, plugged it in and then carefully laid all the eggs inside. Despite Strider’s confidence and my desire to believe that living chicks would result from this experiment, my doubt was decidedly stronger. But, having seen dozens of chickens in his yard and knowing his track record with hatching these creatures, I figured it was at least a decent bet. 

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So we made a chart to track the 21-day incubation period and then began the wait. Chase recorded the incubator temperature each day, which hovered right at the level Strider had set, as well as the humidity level, which dropped a little each day. When it got below 40%, we put in some more water as instructed and watched it soar again. We looked at those eggs every single day, trying to find some evidence of life, but there was nary a change. 

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On day 18, per Strider’s instructions, we brought the incubator into our dark closet and held each egg up to a special light to identify and separate the fertilized eggs from the rest. In recent days, I had talked myself into believing there was life in there, but had an underlying dread that this day would prove my initial doubt right; that they would all be empty and we (and everyone we’d told) would be terribly disappointed. But much to my surprise, nearly all the eggs had contents – presumably chicks. I was thrilled. We removed the rotating component and placed the fertile eggs back on the stillness of the rack to await their upcoming hatch date.

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On day 20, while we were homeschooling at the kitchen counter, I could have sworn I heard a chirp. “Was that inside??,” I asked Chase, thinking it might have been a bird in the yard. We held our breath and listened. “I think so!,” Chase replied. We ran over to the incubator and immediately noticed a small crack in one of the eggs. From inside came a distinct, high-pitched “cheep!” Homeschool was awash for the rest of the day because we could not keep our eyes off the action that was finally taking place. With great enthusiasm, we called John over and cheered on Chirp, as Chase named him – “Come on Chirp! You can do it!’ – watching the tiny crack grow and grow until the whole thing broke in half and the wet, wobbly chick burst out of its used-up home, shutting down my doubts that this whole experiment would fail.

Over the next day, we were glued to the incubator as if to the most riveting National Geographic show ever filmed, as chick after chick hatched, stumbling around and flopping over eggs like wet, drunken sailors until they’d had a chance to find their sea legs and fluff up. It had become so crowded, we waited until a break in hatching and moved a batch to the “brooder” (a giant tupperware from Home Depot with a clamped-on heatlamp), before heading back to watch more of the show.

John teased me for my intense interest and excitement, but it was honestly one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. And it has been sheer delight seeing and holding these dozens of chicks, the substance of what we’d hoped for, who are sweetly chirping in the background as I type. Maybe especially so since the idea of this reality was so challenged in my mind.

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I am pretty darn sure that if we were to do this again, I would have far less doubt and far more confidence, not just in Strider’s direction which was incredibly helpful, but in the process itself to bring about life from a fertilized egg even though it looks no different than any other.

This, my friends, is a picture of faith. It isn’t necessarily a full-throttle belief in everything God has said, or even in one particular thing. At least not for me. My faith journey began as a decent bet, born out of a need for hope in difficult times, based on a process that worked for others. I was filled with doubt, thinking as usual, “But this is me we are talking about.” But as it turns out all life – even mine – becomes fertile the moment Jesus enters it and when allowed to rest in the warmth of His love, can’t help but develop and grow.

So maybe faith the size of a mustard seed really is enough. To grasp that little bit of hope with our weak little grip. Just enough to plug in the incubator despite our doubt, and follow the simple instructions despite a lack of any outward change. Because if we do, life inside could be forming and growing and getting established, until one day it starts to crack through the surface, sing its sweet song for all to hear and become the very substance of something we had only hoped for but now find ourselves holding in our very hands. 

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Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief. Mark 9:24


Responses

  1. Awesome! How fun to name them – you could do a Norwegian batch and call them Aksel, Sigrid, Thorhild, Ole, Ingvald, etc., then a great leaders of faith batch like Luther, Wycliffe, Graham ……

    Just promise me no snakes.

    Excellent commentary, by the way. XOXO

    On Fri, May 1, 2020 at 2:45 PM where waves grow sweet wrote:

    > karanoel posted: “Audio version of this post: Though we live in suburbia, > parts of our county allow for animals that would be normally found on a > farm or in a petting zoo, like the chickens, roosters and goats happily > clucking and bleating on Strider’s property directl” >

    • I can very easily promise you no snakes! My neighbor from Holland was telling me that her grandfather had chickens and for some reason named all the roosters Biblical names. Every once in a while at dinner, he would say something like “there’s Moses on the table.” 😂

  2. Kara, I just loved hearing you tell the story of faith. I’m sending it to my daughter in law, I know she will love you . Thank you, It’s wonderful. Our Father sends His love at the strangest times. Always the most needed times. God bless you and all those chicks. You will know which ones are roosters soon. Love Patty Fulk

    • Thank you so much, Patty! I’m always thrilled if someone can glean a little something from a post. I’m sure you’re right about the roosters. Once we figure that out, those ones are making a quick exit 😊. Lots of love, Kara

  3. Oh my goodness. Just loved this. It reminded me of the few years we had a small farm with goats, pigs, cows and, yes, chickens!!! Love your post, Kara! There are so many lessons to be learned from nature. One of my favorites on the farm: One day, one of the mother hens began to make sharp, yet subtle, noises — all of her chicks scurried under her wide-spread wings. When the last one was gathered under those wings, I looked up to see a hawk circling. My husband and I talked about Jesus’ words as He looked over Jerusalem and talked (and taught) about this. Oh that we would scurry closer to HIM when we are tempted to do wrong, when we are in a bad place (physically or mentally). We can be protected UNDER HIS WINGS.

    • What a beautifully tangible way to picture those verses!! God is so good to show us in ways we can understand! Thanks for sharing, Jan! 💗


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