Isaiah 1:3 The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.
Jeremiah 8:7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the Lord.
Sally Sue is a whitetail doe that we rescued a couple of years ago. We bottle fed her, and she took up residence down at our barn with the sheep and goats and our neutered Axis buck, Bucky. She is a typical skittish little doe, but she loves apples, and she will take us down for a bit of fruit. She allows Jeff and I to pet her, but she is stand-offish around others. Last year, she left during breeding season. We saw her a few times, and we knew that she was pregnant. She came back home to the barn after a bit, but she came home without a fawn. We searched the woods, but never found the fawn. I’m not sure what happened, but Sally Sue knew how to find her way home. She knew where the buckets of feed were plentiful and the fruit snacks were abundant.
This year, Sally Sue left for a short period during mating season, but as always, she returned home. Her belly slowly grew larger, and we knew the time for the arrival of a new fawn was drawing near. Part of me kept wondering if she would leave to give birth and seek the secret hiding places of the wooded areas. Three days ago, she delivered a beautiful long legged little doe fawn. We named her Rosie. Sally Sue accepted her baby and cleaned her up just as she should, but she wouldn’t let the baby nurse. Rosie would try to latch on, and Sally would walk away. This went on constantly for the first day. The next morning, my husband promptly traded a bucket of scuppernongs, a couple of persimmons, jelly, and squash relish for some goat colostrum. Rosie sucked that stuff up like it was honey. Today, she is finally nursing, and it looks like she is doing very well.
Sally Sue is a wild, whitetail doe, but she was bottle raised by my husband and myself. She knows that we are her safe place and that our barn is her home. She will always have food, water, and shelter there. She is free to leave as she pleases, but she always knows when to come home. I’m very pleased that she chose to come home to have her little fawn this time and that we were there to give it a little extra boost of nourishment to get it going.
God has given animals a remarkable homing instinct. Before Sally Sue, we had Ellie May. She would wander miles from home visiting our neighbors, but all I had to do was rattle the chain on the gate to the barn, and she suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Why then do we humans seem to want to rebel and not even show the good sense of an animal? Our loving Father created us and has given us every reason to want to come home, yet we drift and backslide. We try to do things on our own and under our own power and authority. We tend to forget that in Christ, we have all of the nourishment we need. In Christ, we have hope, love, joy, protection, grace, and mercy. Away from Christ, we may find temporary pleasure, but it will always be short lived. Without Christ, we are lost and alone.
In Jeremiah 8:7, we are reminded that even the birds live according to the instincts that the Lord has given them. They know when to migrate and when to return for seasons just as my little doe does. Why then do we humans have such difficulty with this? Man seems to constantly run the race of self destruction, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Our natural instinct or intuition tells us that we don’t want to be alone. We don’t want to feel lost, abandoned, or full of despair. We want to have fullness of joy, hope, and love everlasting. We yearn for grace and mercy. Fortunately for each of us, we have a heavenly Father who wants to give us all of this. We needn’t run from Him, but rather we should be running to Him.
No matter where you are at this moment in time, no matter how far you feel that you have strayed, no matter how big or little your sins are, Christ is inviting you to return home. He’s been rattling the chain on the gate for a while now. His buckets are overflowing with love, joy, hope, grace, and mercy. He is ready to wrap His arms around you and give you the comfort and protection in that safe place that you are seeking. Don’t keep running away. Run home to the Father! There is no better place to be in this whole world!