Chicken Little is Not Our Prophet
DUDLEY HALL — For hundreds of years children have been told the story of Chicken Little, or Henny Penny, as the chicken is sometimes called. An acorn falls on the unsuspecting chicken’s head, and she interprets it as the sky falling. In her panic she relays the event to other animals in the yard and they buy into her interpretation. Fear reigns.
In one version, a fox invites them to his lair and finally eats them all. In other versions, they escape when the truth is revealed. “The sky is falling!” has become a favorite way to describe it when people over-react to negative events.
When the news seems mostly bad we tend to listen to Chicken Little. After all, there is a verifiable lump there: something painful did happen and the victim is an eyewitness. Her interpretation must be considered. But is it truth? Not necessarily.
We’re entering a new year. We could look back at 2015 and say we took some lumps. Why then do we tend to jump to the conclusions that things are as bad as they can be? Why assume that secularism has won? Why assume that we’ve lost our religious freedom? Why assume that the current Supreme Court’s decision is the final nail in the coffin of the family? Why conclude that the church is on the wane; that younger people are no longer interested in God? Why would some theologians be developing means to accommodate the seeming spread of evil, giving up hope of victory this side of escape? Why do people say they’re going to move to Canada if the opposite political party wins the election?
I can think of at least one reason. (It isn’t a good one.) Possibly, down deep we believe we deserve such punishment. We live, waiting for the other shoe (or the sky) to fall.
Some people hold up polls and surveys to authenticate their dire interpretations. No doubt if a poll had been taken in Chicken Little’s barnyard, the results would have confirmed that the sky was indeed falling. Panic is like that: it makes the worst possible outcome seem like the only possible outcome, whether it’s true or not.
We should make no mistake. Evil is real. Refusing to call it evil doesn’t eliminate it. But it is not superior to God’s truth and goodness, just as darkness is not superior to light.
We don’t need Chicken Littles in today’s world. We need true prophets to help us know the meaning of what’s going on. Consider the first Pentecost. Even the believing disciples didn’t know what was happening there, when unusual phenomena began to take place. (Acts 2:1-36) If Peter had not acted as God’s prophet, they would have gone away thinking that the believers were drunk, or that magic had been introduced to this already dubious sect. Peter explained that God had acted, and that what they feared most, death, had been dealt a deathblow.
If there was ever a time for a “Chicken Little” to speak, that should have been it. The greatest evil of all time had just been done. Horrifically deceived religious leaders, along with power-hungry civil leaders, had led the crowd to unjustly crucify the “Author of life.” (Acts 3:15) Hope had been dashed. Injustice had won.
But there was another interpretation. “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36) It was the best news ever. God was working (God is always at work!) through the atrocious events of that fateful weekend, to establish His kingdom above all powers and forces, even death. Justice had been done as Jesus had taken the place of guilty criminals and paid their debt. Goodness had won over evil. Light had penetrated the darkness. Death had been defeated. Love was enthroned.
The same one who created this world has redeemed it. It will be restored and forever display the wonder of his glory. We have God’s assurance of that. We who follow Christ have been privileged to be his instruments of restoration. We refuse to flinch when darkness exposes itself. We have the light.
We’re not here for personal comfort, but for the glory of our Lord who rules in love through us. We have challenges, but nothing compared to the tomb that Jesus conquered. We live by the same Spirit that raised him.
So as we look ahead to a new year I call for true prophets to stand and declare what God has done, and what it means. The media tells us about events. We need interpretation — true interpretation, according to God’s Word. Chicken Little’s interpretation can’t be trusted.
This is our Father’s world. The sky is not falling. God is working through all events to display the glory of His own endless love, which transforms everything it captures. We are anything but victims. We represent the King who reigns forever. Presently, darkness covers too much of His purchased possession, but we have only just begun. It is time for those who have seen the light to carry it forward into the darkness.
We don’t know what 2016 will bring, but we know this: the sky is just fine. God is in control, and all the heavens are bright with the glory of the Lord.