We learn from Genesis, Chapter 3, that God had a habit of walking in His garden in the cool of the day. I would imagine that He looked forward to this time of the day more than any other because He could look at the beauty of the garden and "catch up" with Adam and Eve. He must have loved talking with them and learning about their activities of the day. My husband (Jac) and I also delight in walking through our neighborhood during the cool of the day. We talk with one another, speak with our neighbors, and look at the plants that are blooming around us. Our walks are filled with peace.
Last week we had such a treat as we walked down a residential street of townhomes that back up to a wooded area. We, and the man walking in front of us, came upon a young buck standing on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and street. The deer seemed calm and unafraid of us. He was so intent on eating a clump of clover growing in the grass strip that he allowed the man to come within two feet of him. As we approached, he pulled up the clump of clover and began chewing it as he calmly walked across the street toward the homes, looking for more clover.
Isn't it fascinating that God gave the deer peace to be in our presence and intelligence to find a plant that is not only tasty but healthy for him as well? Clover is a short-lived herb with fragrant flowers that appear in the late spring. Farmers may plant a crop to feed their livestock because it is high in protein, phosphorus, and calcium. The clover must have been so delicious that the deer thought it was worth taking a chance staying in our presence. Not until he had his treasure in his mouth, did he move on.
Actually, the deer was extremely vulnerable in staying close to us because his velvet antlers were growing. At six months the Whitetail deer grows "buttons" from what is called the pedicle or the frontal bone that protects his skull. The antlers grow from the buttons in the spring and early summer and are covered with an exceptionally fine and soft membrane called velvet. During the growing season, the antlers are high in water and blood content and are easily injured before they harden. Somehow the bucks are aware of their vulnerability during this season. Bruises and cuts to the velvet can impact the formation of the antlers. It is not until the end of summer that the testosterone levels in male deer rise to initiate the hardening of the antlers.
Psalm 91 comes to my mind: "Those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High can rest in His shadow." We can say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Verse 2) In The Passion Translation, verses 9-11 say, "When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm. How could evil prevail against us or disease infect us? God sends angels with special orders to protect you wherever you go, defending you from all harm." Verses 15-16 (TPT) continue to assure us of the Lord's presence and protection: "I will answer your cry for help every time you pray, and you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble. I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast. You will be satisfied with a full life and with all that I do for you. For you will enjoy the fullness of my salvation!"
Psalm 42 talks about the deer that pants for streams of water and how our souls thirst for God in the same way. Yet our hope rests in God and His love for us. He is our shield, protector, and peace. Just as our friendly deer felt secure in our presence, we should feel the security of the Lord in whose shadow we dwell.
Joan E. Mathias