It never fails. Or should I say, God never fails.
Just when I need it, another reminder of His steadfast presence and unfailing love was sent to me in the form of, you guessed it, a deer.
This morning as I drove to work I descended down a long, steep hill that is lined with beautiful estates and stately trees. At the bottom of the hill is one of the many Cleveland Metro Parks so the area is well preserved in its natural state. I have, on occasion, seen deer in the woods along this road but today was the first time I ever had one run right in front of my car. As I came to the bottom of the hill, one lone, female deer came bolting across the road close enough to startle but not scare me. I hit the brakes and watched as she cleared my car with plenty of room to spare. I looked around to see if she had companions along, since usually when one deer is spotted another is close by. But not this time. This deer was alone, just like all the other deer God has put in my path since I've moved to Chagrin Falls.
God knew that my spirits have been waning these past few days. I wish I could say that this one encounter with the deer did the trick, removing all my sorrow and bringing me unspeakable peace. But, alas, the deep pit of my loneliness continued on throughout the day. For the first time in months my body was feeling horrible. My leg has been on the fritz again and the rest of my body has suffered along with it. A cloud settled over my head today and even the deer couldn't seem to move it away.
I spent the day at work feeling miserable and sorry for myself. Three years of battling my health and still, problems persist. Still days come where my psoas muscle is clenched and my digestion is unstable. Still there are days where my brain feels like it is in a fog and my mood is low and depression settles in. Today was one of those days and I couldn't help but crying out to God in protest.
No more! I don't want any more of this! People always say God doesn't give us more than we can handle. Okay, so I can handle this. I know I can. But the bottom line is: I DON'T WANT TO. I don't want to have to handle this health, this loneliness, this rejection, this isolation, this valley. I want out. I want something different. I have been here long enough. Sure, I get the occasional boost from a deer here and there but I want more. I want a change in circumstances. I want relief.
God, haven't I proven that I will be faithful to you? Haven't I proven that I won't turn to sin and the ways of the world just to relieve my emotional grief and pain? What more do you want from me?
I want a life, not just an existence. I want purpose, not just survival. Haven't I waited long enough?
I must admit that words of "this too shall pass" did nothing for me today, in my fragile state. I wanted a quick escape from my life, not encouragement for the journey. I wanted an emergency exit, not an agonizing wait for an elevator.
And then I remembered that deer again - that deer that was all by itself just like all the others I've had sent to me. And I thought of this simple statement that I just knew God was trying to send my way, "I have not forgotten you." When I looked at that graceful, peaceful deer that was the first thought that crossed my mind: I haven't forgotten you....He said to me....
....It feels like I have, I know. To you this life has been taxing and troubling and you just want out. I get that. You wonder when your ship is going to come in, or if it ever will. You wonder what is wrong with you. Why the isolation? Why the lack of relationship? Why the slammed doors and repeated rejection? Why the constant struggles with health? What is the purpose? What is the use of all of this?
I hear your cries. You want out. You want this to be over. You either want a change in life circumstances or you want to be with me in heaven. I know your heart. I know your desire is not a life of lust and sin. You want a life that has meaning in advancing my kingdom.
But I am not ready to use you yet. I know that is hard to hear. You think you are ready. You're wrong. You are not yet ready. I am still pruning you. I am clipping away and refining the details. This phase of the process can be time consuming and might be tough on you. You will grow weary. But details take time to perfect. You must be patient. To you enough work is done and you are ready to move on. But I'm interested in details - details you are overlooking. You must trust that I know best. I have a keener eye than you. Trust in that.
I will keep sending you deer. I will keep reminding you that you are precious to me because I know that you are weak and need these little boosts along your journey. Daughter, don't ever doubt that I am taking good care of you. I love you and want you to have vivid, beautiful, distinct details. Let me do the work. It isn't a quick process. It is time consuming and tedious. I'm not asking you to do the work yourself. I'm just asking that you rest while I do it for you. Can you do that for me?