When we see someone in pain, and we can make it better, should we do so?

That’s the essence of My Chick Problem.

My two little girls are in tear-filled, chick-less pain. I can make it better by driving an hour north where more chicks are available. Should I?

For most people, it’s a no-brainer. The kids want; the parents can get; therefore get. Why let the kids “suffer”?

Well, I must admit, my first instinct was “Pull out the stops, Superhero, and ride to the rescue.” The unforgettably painful sight of two suddenly deflated little girls hanging tearfully over cold, lifeless chick bins would melt the harshest dictator’s heart. Instead of the much-anticipated cuddly, yellow, warmth – nothing. What’s a two-hour drive to fix this?

But with preaching tomorrow, can I really afford the time?

I know, PETCO. Just 10 mins down the road; grab a rabbit, a hamster, or some other rodent, and kill two birds with one stone (well, not literally, but you know what I mean).

Then I remembered my two pet rabbits from 35 years ago. STINK! And I know who’ll end up cleaning out the hut.


Teaching time?
And Shona keeps whispering in my ear, “There’s a lesson in this, David.”

“I know, I know, but look at their faces.”

I so much want to be their hero.

What about another cat? I’ve resisted this for a year, after the trauma of hearing Fluffy’s squeal when she was half-squashed by a car; then having to tend her as she lay dying a week before she was due to give birth to her first kittens. Five little lives faded before my eyes. Anyway, I’m trying to block that.

Cellphone + Craigslist = $5 kitten within 30 mins. Superdad rides to the rescue!

But should I?

There is a lesson in this. More than one: you can’t get everything you want; if you set your heart too much on something, God can take it away; if happiness depends on things – even lovely, cuddly, yellow things – what happens when there are no things?

Am I willing to sacrifice these invaluable life lessons for the sake of being a temporary Superhero? Will I give up the opportunity to teach self-denial, patience, contentment, and submission to my children – just to make them (and me) feel better for a short time?

Decision Time
Four days later, we are still pet-less. (Hope you don’t hate me!) One of the girls bounced back quite quickly. The other moped and mourned a bit for a half day or so. But I steeled my heart and stayed the course.

The “compromise” is that we will probably get another cat…eventually, once the lessons have been really learned, by the girls…and by me.

Because I think this was sent to teach me more than them. I learned more about God in these empty chick bins and wet eyes than I have in many a sermon. My Father sees my pain and can relieve it in an instant. But He “reluctantly” chooses not to.

Because He wants to be much more than a briefly-appreciated Superhero delivering me from outward troubles and trials. He wants to be my Savior, delivering me from my sin and drawing me into a deeper relationship with Him.

Photo Credit: BigStockPhoto.

  • AJ

    Wonderful ending to a heart-wrenching situation. Way to stay the course!

    Unfortunately I don’t have your “steeled heart”, and so, I have rabbits in our sunroom, first two, then five, and now eleven, yikes! And yes, your memory serves you well, STINK!

  • http://www.counselingoneanother.com Paul Tautges

    Great example for us, brother. Thanks!

  • http://www.se7en.org.za Se7en

    Shew – tough call. It is so hard to say no to our kids, especially with things we can easily provide. Honestly who isn’t tempted to be heroic and to give their kids the world. Folks look at me like I am mad when I say this, but I am rather relieved to be on the lower end of the wealth spectrum and there is a genuine reason why I can’t get my kids everything that they think they want or even that I think they want. We know that they need to work harder than they think they can, but it is so good to make things easier for them. We know that the best help and service in tough times are from those who have been there and experienced pain and we want our kids to grow up as great servants but we never want them to suffer – even a tiny bit. I tell you parenting is definitely not for the faint-hearted!!!

  • G

    Had you chosen to go ahead and drive the extra hour to get the chicks, an equally important lesson could have been taught about making promises to our children and keeping them (whatever it takes) as our Heavenly Father does.
    6 weeks with chicks vs. 6 years with a cat…I know which lesson I would have chosen!

  • David Murray

    Like it! If I’d promised, I agree, no option but to keep it.

  • http://www.gentlereformation.com Barry York


    I see the Lord is using animals and our children to teach us both!

    • http://headhearthand.org/blog/ David Murray

      He sure is, Barry!

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