I hadn’t seen one for many months, so it was exciting this week when I caught a glimpse of not just one deer, but three beautiful does in a wooded area near our home. For the development of our neighborhood has increasingly decreased natural habitat spaces for wildlife and I had feared that the deer had been driven away for good.
What amused me, however, was simply where those deer were grazing—just yards away from a nicely made “No Trespassing – Private Property” sign. For obviously, the deer either were oblivious to the sign or simply chose to ignore it, perhaps rightfully claiming prior residence in all this land before any of us ever arrived here.
But the truth, of course, is that when it comes to nature, there are things which we patently can’t control. Hurricanes happen when and where they want to, and floods arise whether we have insurance or not. Tornadoes strike at random and with little warning. Hot weather comes and, at least in South Texas, stays for an uncomfortably long time. Diseases like the coronavirus similarly follow their own patterns, irrespective of whatever schedules we may try to set for them. And deer, for all of their other winsome qualities—their keen senses of vision, smell and hearing, for instance– can’t read.
In the midst of all these uncertainties, however, we have a God who exists above and beyond nature for, in fact, He is the Creator of all things. His thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not His ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than ours. (Isaiah 55.8-9). When our lives are clearly out of our control thus, it’s reassuring to remember that “this is my Father’s world… the Lord is King, let the heavens sing, God reigns, let the earth be glad.”
All of which means that we can trust Him with however this rather odd season continues to unfold. For as another hymnist long ago put it, “the wind and waves still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.” And so do both diseases and deer.
Even if they can’t read any of our signs.