Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Imperceptible Signals

While I was on a run yesterday, a deer walked across the street, right in front of me. I was in a neighborhood, with little forest area nearby, so was startled to a stop. The deer stopped too. She looked at me, and stamped an elegant foot, attempting to look menacing.

" are really scary," I told her, "With your big brown gentle eyes and ears the size of turkey platters."

She looked at me, almost pleadingly, and then I saw movement on the other side of the street. It was a small speckled fawn. Much as I wanted to stay and "ooh and aah" at the little fawn, I quickly ran on. I would not be the cause of any angst to a mother protecting her baby. But, a short distance away, I turned and watched, eager to see the reunion. The fawn began nibbling grass and the mama deer was walking on.

You lousy mother! Where are you going? Wait for your baby! I ran in place watching, wondering when the fawn would follow. He didn't but fortunately, Mama Deer stopped and looked towards him, waiting patiently. I ran on, knowing that while I would have been hovering near, as is my way, this Mama deer had it under control.

This is a lesson I have some trouble absorbing. I don't like waiting for those I love to make the right decision. When given a long rope like that, they sometimes make the wrong decision, and I don't want to be witness to a hanging. How had that Mama deer telegraphed to her fawn not to move, not to run across the street into the arms of the predator? (me) I had not heard her make a sound. Was the foot stamping her warning to the baby? And how had she remained so still, so trusting her baby would not bolt into the face of danger?

Two things I learned from this encounter. First, sometimes we have to trust those under our care even though we know that harm may befall them. Secondly, if I am the one under the authority and care of another, I myself have to trust, read the signals, and submit. The Mama Deer and fawn saga was not unlike the relationship between God and His followers. He gives us free will, and lets us wander sometimes impossibly far. But His eyes are always on us, and He is always guiding and sending signals that are for our good and our protection. We ignore them at our peril. His signals are sometimes very faint, nearly imperceptible. Sometimes the signal is a still small voice, and if we turn our ears away, the words that might save us are carried away on the breeze. But, if we have become in the habit of listening for them, we won't miss them.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (I Kings 19:11, 12 NKJV)

-save a dog-


  1. Thanks for this posting. It is one of the best postings that you have written IMHO. I always read your blog right before I start work in the early mornings. You always give me something to think about during the day. This one will stick with me for a long amazing analogy!

  2. Melanie, thank you. I woke up wondering what on earth I would write about. Then I looked through my drawings and remembered the deer i saw yesterday, and voila, the blog posting! God works in the most miraculous ways!