If you have never heard the desperate cry of a fawn in the deep woods in early summer, it might sound to you like a big, loud bird calling out from its nest, or it might give you the unsettling sense that an animal is coming near the end of its life at the hands of a predator.
When I first heard the cry of a fawn, I dismissed it for some strange noise, and I had no desire to find its origin. It was the end of May, mid-afternoon, and the heat was rising. My time outdoors was coming to an end.
However, from across the banks, I saw what appeared to be a fawn entangled in a fence. Realizing what I was looking at, my sense of urgency grew as the weakening cries of the animal, tired and exhausted, continued.
My journey to the fawn was long and tedious. I worried about the aggressive snakes, poison plants, and turned back many times, unable to find the fawn.
Finally, in desperation, I prayed, "Lord, help me find this helpless animal."
A short moment later, I found the fawn entangled in a wire fence with its limbs pointed in awkward directions. My senses felt overwhelmed, discouraged at what appeared to be its slow dying condition, and feeling like I took too long, angry at myself that I didn't attend to its cry sooner.
Carefully, I took the fawn and placed it upon a patch of grass, and then in a loud and unexpected cry, the fawn cried out again. Suddenly, a large doe emerged from the woods, squared me up, and I quickly laid down the fawn and hustled away, hearing the doe returning behind me to attend to its baby.
My heart racing, I couldn't help feeling overwhelmed as I hiked home. My chest tightened, and small tears began came to my eyes. I asked God why did I feel so discouraged? I kept thinking how disheartened I felt seeing what I thought had been a dead fawn, feeling like I had failed, that I had not worked hard enough, I was too slow. But the fawn was not dead, and the mother came to its rescue, and it was now free from its trap!
I continued praying to God, and then I came to the stream I had crossed only a half-hour beforehand.
In the middle of the stream, looking back in the direction where I had encountered the crying animal, God reminded me of His word when Jeremiah describes Him as "the spring of living water." (Jeremiah 2:13). That moment, the Lord showed me three truths in His Word.
- The Lord hears the cries of those He loves (Psalm 18:6)
When I found the helpless fawn, and when I at-first believed it was dead, I felt defeated. I had experienced another moment in life when my pursuits and efforts had reached dead-ends. However, the Lord reminded me of Psalm 18:6, which says, "In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple, he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." At that moment, in the stream, the Lord reminded me He hears our cries, just as He listened to my plea for help to find the fawn.
The Lord also showed me we are to be like the fawn, constantly crying out to Him, and that unlike me, he quickly comes to our rescue (Psalm 34:15). I knew then the Lord had been listening to my cries for help in the other areas of my life, even those to which I felt he was deaf, and that I needed to continue to call upon His name.
- The Lord is not distant from His children (Psalm 145:18)
The Lord also reminded me that afternoon that He is not a distant father. Leading up to my experience with the fawn, I had arrived at a moment when I asked the Lord, "why are you distant from me? Why do you not hear my calls to you?" and the truth is, I did not know I had arrived at that place in life until the Lord showed me, in His love! However, because the Lord spoke to me in my experience, and through His spirit, I became reminded, "the Lord is near to all who call on him." (Psalm 145:18).
- The Lord is a spring of living water (Jeremiah 2:13)
Finally, the Lord showed me He is the spring of living water from where I am to draw my help, hope, and life. Although I felt distant from God, that He had not been listening to my cries, and discouraged in life, the Lord showed me in love that he is near, listening to our pleas, and that if we call upon Him, and trust him, we will discover the spring of living water, help.
From what spring do you draw a drink? Who do you cry out to, and what is the sound of your call? Are you like the fawn, and if so, do you feel like you have become trapped in one of this life's fences, your limbs awkwardly pointing in all directions, and your rescuer is distant and slow to respond?
If so, the Lord is near, hearing your calls. I challenge you to carry the scriptures I listed with you, (Psalm 18:6; Psalm 145:18; Psalm 34:15; Jeremiah 2:13), letting them be your guide. Let the Lord and His Word be what saturates your mind, because, in the Lord and His Word, we discover He is near, listening to our pleas, and providing us with broad streams of life from where we may draw deeply.
The River Church Staff