“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

Matthew 23:37

I confess. Sometimes I get awfully childish. Not the delightful child-likeness with which Jesus calls us to come to him. I’m talking about “childish.” At such times I feel excessively vulnerable – emotionally weak.

But I’ve learned that, even in this childishness, Jesus accepts who I am and what I am. He knows the troubles I’ve come from. He understands my needs and he is there to fill those needs. He will always love me.

Whether childlike or childish, Jesus longs to gather us to him like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings. He wants to help us feel safe and secure.

In the way Jesus saw the pain, hopelessness and loneliness of the people of Jerusalem, so he sees our suffering. When we’re feeling lost or insecure, he wants to shelter us in his arms. His greatest desire is to have a loving relationship with us and to give us hope and eternal life.

Jesus longed to gather the people of Jerusalem to himself, the very people who he knew would later crucify him. But they were not willing to come. He offered himself to the very people who were to reject him. That’s the kind of compassion Jesus had!

We are not the people of Jerusalem. We are not out to crucify him. But Jesus wants to share his everlasting love with us as well, two thousand years later. The question is, will we receive it?

Jesus longs for us to come to him. But all too often he longs for us more than we long for him. And yet his compassion doesn’t fail.

Jesus wants to gather you to him. He wants you to allow him to give you comfort and encouragement when life becomes too much – those times when you feel a bit like the child you used to be.

Jesus cares for you. He longs for you. Like a hen gathering chicks under her wings he longs for you.