No Fear, Deer
Posted in Fear/Anxiety
Scripture: “Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat field stunted, though the sheep pens are sleepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!” – Habakkuk 3: 17-19 (The Message)
The sun is rising, and I watch from my porch at Edisto as a buck and his doe enjoy their breakfast. They know I am watching — they could sense me a mile away. A car rides by and they don’t even flinch. A man and his dog walk by, but they just keep on munching. These deer are not afraid. The buck has taught his doe to remain with him and to trust what he trusts.
The awesome irony is that, as I am watching these beautiful, gentle, quiet creatures, I am reading my morning devotional about not fearing. God sure has a way, doesn’t He? It’s true, I could look at those deer as a nuisance for eating up my neighbor’s yard, but instead God is allowing me to see the beauty in not fearing and following Jesus’ example.
The author of my devotional* confesses, “There are many things I wish were true about me:
I wish I could say that I’m never afraid, but I can’t.
I wish I could say that worry never interrupts my sleep, but I can’t.
I wish I could say that I never wonder what God is doing, but I can’t.
I wish I could say that I never give way to envy, but I can’t.
I wish I could say that I am always aware that God is near, but I can’t.
I wish I could say that I never wonder, ‘If only ______,’ but I can’t.
I wish I could say that I never dread what’s around the corner, but I can’t.
I wish I could say that I always have peace in my heart, but I can’t.
I wish I could say that all I do is done out of faith and not fear, but I can’t.”
Truth be told, I could have written all of those “I wish I could say” sentences above. Fortunately, I am not left to “wish,” but I am left to remember. The author, Paul David Tripp, goes on to say, “You see, I have come to be very aware that although I know the Bible and its doctrine well, the battle between fear and faith still goes on in my heart. Fear lives and rules in the heart of a believer who has forgotten God’s sovereignty and grace. If left to myself, I should be afraid.”
Y’all, we are not left to ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I can look back on all of my life and see God’s fingerprints all over it — not just His fingerprints, but His arms tightly around me! He has always been there with me, even when I was not. When I give way to fear, it is because I have forgotten Immanuel, which literally means “God with us.” Our level of fear and level of faith is surely being tested today. This virus is scary and it feels as though there is no end in sight, but then I remember my Healer, my Miracle Worker. The hate I see among races and even political races is downright terrifying, but then I remember my Peace Keeper. In my experience, and yes, I am highly qualified in this department, fear and worry are tightly interwoven. The Lord has shown me that when I confess and confide in him, he can do beautiful things with my fears. When I give it to him and trust that he is in control, I can be like the deer and keep on munching while danger walks by, without any worries. Yes, I am counting on God’s Rule to prevail in all of this, and I remember he enables me to take heart and gain strength. With God, I munch on and even run like a deer!
Prayer: God, I do not need to be afraid, for you never grow weary in protecting me and providing for me. By your grace, give me eyes to see you and sense your nearness. May I not live in fear, and may I always remember and trust that you are with me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Submitted by Julie Hudson
For further encouragement, read Isaiah 44: 1-8.
*Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies, 2014.