Shortly after 2 a.m. the other morning our chickens were in an uproar, cackling alarmedly, as a black-masked intruder sauntered into the coop and began his work of terror. His first goal: a drumstick for dinner. His first intended victim: a Barred Rock hen named Midnight. He was on the prowl for a midnight snack.
Then a figure approached out of the shadows: a savior! A switch was flicked and a single, bare incandescent bulb illumined the room. The masked intruder (commonly known as a racoon) scurried away into the dark night, taking with him nothing but an empty stomach and a few fluffy, speckled feathers.
The heroine of the night, my own dear mother, inspected the chickens for injuries, and closed and locked their door, leaving them safely in the coop until dawn. The next day Midnight had a terrible limp (the chicken veterinarian in my family speculates a pulled muscle).
Did all the other chickens sympathize with their injured comrade and try to make her as comfortable as possible? No! A few seemed to remain her friends, but others took this as their chance to improve their own spot in the pecking order by picking on her.
David found that a lot of humans treated him the same way when he had trouble. In Psalm 38 he said, "My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off. They also that seek after my life lay snares for me: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long...In thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me."
David's father-in-law tried to kill him. David's own son tried to kill him. His good friend and counselor Ahithophel helped his son conspire against him. When trouble comes, you quickly learn who your true friends are.
Job had 3 "friends" the Bible tells us of when he was in trouble. They told him what a sinful and wicked person they thought he was and were aptly called "miserable comforters." The last chapter of Job tells us that the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before, "Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him..."
When the Lord gives you 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 she-asses, believe me, you are going to have a lot of friends, acquaintances, and brethren around to comfort you! But when you have lost everything and are living in misery, who will be there for you?
Jesus will be there. He promised, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the world." We know we can count on Him, and we need to learn to be like Him. We weren't meant to be sunny-weather friends, running to hide with the first drop of rain. We weren't meant to pick on our friends when they're attacked by raccoons, or when other troubles come to them. We were made in the image of God, not of chickens.