Saturday, February 11, 2017

As The Deer

My wife and I have had a visitor in our backyard for several weeks now. A deer. We get a lot of deer in our backyard but we thought it was quite the treat - too see a deer so close to our house. It was almost like the deer WANTED to stay near to us. But then, as we looked closer at our new friend, we saw why it was so reluctant to move.

The deer has a broken leg. It's right rear leg got damaged somehow and it no longer can move like the other deer do. At first we were saddened. Was the deer in pain? Would it survive the winter? Can we call someone? This poor, poor deer. But then, God taught us a few things about compassion and mercy and grace, and all three of us are better off for it.

We went through a list of things we could do to help the deer. Other people chimed in with their ideas on Facebook after I posted a picture of our three-legged friend. Should we call the DNR? The state park? What about an animal rehabilitation center?

We chose to do none of the above. Why? Are we heartless and uncaring? No. We are realistic. There are a LOT of deer in Central Wisconsin. SO many deer that the DNR is trying to figure out ways to get rid of the deer. There are simply too many deer that, if called, local law enforcement and park ranger types would simply come out and shoot the deer.

Cedar tree browse line
We read articles on feeding deer in the winter and learned quite a bit but I think it was our traveling through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan each year that taught us the most. Deer love to eat cedar trees. So my wife and I went hunting for some cedar bows we could harvest and bring back to our house. My wife also bought some butternut squash. All were consumed gratefully by our injured friend . . . and many others.

One day I began to wonder, was God trying to teach us something through this injured deer? I think He was. And still is.

This injured deer has brought out the compassion in my wife and I - especially my wife. She went out into the woods on her own this week and brought more branches home. She is DOING to meet a need. She is demonstrating grace, mercy and compassion. Admirable characteristics in God's eyes.

"Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! 10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." - James 5:9-11

Is there a "deer" in YOUR life? Is there someone who is in need of your compassion and mercy? Who can you reach out to and extend God's grace to today. A co-worker who has lost a loved one perhaps, or a young mother in need of diapers and formula. A deer in the back yard in need of food has given us the opportunity to use our compassion muscles but is there a greater need for "injured" humans around us?

The early church gave to one another "as there was a need" (Acts 2:45). If we are members of God's church in this world, where is there are need around us that we may serve? Let us move and not be complacent!

The deer stayed close to our house because it felt safe. Nothing could attack it from two sides. It was somewhat safe. And there was food! Are we bearers of "food" to those around us? Will they come near to us in a time of need?

May we be God's hands and feet in a world that is so desperately in need. Let them know we are His children by the things we say and do - by the love we show. The world is broken, just like the deer in our back yard. People are hungry for truth in a world seemingly devoid of any. Let us bring the food of God's Word and let them drink in God's love through our compassion and mercy. In that way God will be honored and praised and we will have done the will of our Father in the lives of those around us.

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." - Psalm 42:1-2

As The Deer - Worship Video


  1. I love this one Bob! Great Message!

  2. Thank you MBB. :) God provides a big classroom with amazing teachers. All we have to do is open our eyes to His teaching. :)