Do you see the empty spot on the bench next to the deer? A few moments before, that spot had been occupied by me. I'd been sitting there for quite a while actually, though the buck had found his spot first.
I'd had a busy morning trying to keep up with a seven year old, five year old, nearly three year old and an 18 month old at a deer park and petting zoo in Wisconsin. Since their mom was along as well, I decided to take advantage of a bench that had been thoughtfully placed next to a pond as well as a lovely shade tree.
I hesitantly approached the buck as I really did not want to disturb his space. I politely asked if he would mind if I sat down beside him for awhile. He calmly looked me over, sizing me up before nodding his approval. I sat down and gave him a bit of dried corn I had as well as a gentle pat. "Thank you very much, kind Sir."
Emotionally, I was very tired. My son's world was turned upside down and inside out four weeks ago and as any parent knows, when our children hurt, we hurt as well. It was so much easier when they were small. A hug and a kiss worked magic but alas, it is much more complicated when they reach adulthood.
I sat on the bench, next to the deer and watched ducks swim effortlessly across the pond. I heard the laughter of children all around me, including the four who had accompanied me. I gently stroked the deer once again. He turned his head to look at me and seemed to ask for more so I complied.
It was peaceful in this place. I knew I couldn't stay here but that wasn't any reason for me not to linger for awhile and so I did. I closed my eyes and let God's very own creation, declare His glory. I remembered that the God who created the beauty around me was not only the Creator, He was not only the Lord God Almighty, He was my Father as well.
As such, He understood my confusion and pain. He understood my grief better than anyone else ever could. He too has wayward and stubborn children who make poor decisions that hurt themselves and others deeply. Not only does He understand; He was weeping with me as well.
As I sat on the bench in that quiet and restful place beside the deer, I felt like God sat down beside me and held me close. He whispered to me, "Shh... be still. Just sit here and rest beside me for awhile."
It was good to sit, be still and rest for awhile in the arms of God.
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Psalm 37:7a (NLT)