Do you have deer or other woodland wildlife in your community–something beyond the squirrels and birds and insects common to most populated areas? I grew up in Brighton Park, an ethnic inner-city Chicago neighborhood, so I was completely blown away when we moved to Michiana Shores, and discovered that we do, indeed, have deer.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or ask the birds of the air, and they will tell you. Speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea tell you. Every one of these knows that the hand of the LORD has done this. The life of every creature and the breath of all people are in God’s hand.” (Job 12:7-10 NCV)
They’re amazing and beautiful creatures, but instead of worrying about bird droppings on our newly washed cars, we now contend with protecting our hostas and day lilies from the local deer population. We still have quite a bit of woods in our community so they’re numerous, and seemingly oblivious to approaching vehicles until you get closer and they determine you are, indeed, a potential threat–at which point they bound across the road in several graceful leaps, only to come to a complete standstill a yard or so into the adjacent brush and undergrowth!
In the summer, the leaves and ground cover are lush and thick and you don’t typically notice, but I was amazed recently when this happened. It’s already well into mid-spring, but because of the unseasonably cold weather the foliage doesn’t have leaves yet–it’s just the bare brown trunks of trees and twigs and undergrowth, with a smidgen of green things beginning to grow underfoot. Because of this I was able to observe what is typically invisible to our human powers of observation–the deer, frozen solid as it were, but a few yards away from my car!
So here’s my question: why don’t they keep running when they get into the woods? I would, if I were threatened! In fact, I would probably run and run and run, until there were miles between me and the source of that threat. But if the deer did that here, it would probably bolt right into another similar or even worse threat on the other side of our wooded block–another car, someone’s back yard, another human being perhaps, and instead of being safe, expose itself to even more danger.
So why don’t they do that? Who told them not to keep running even though they’re probably scared–that they just have to get far enough into the bushes and undergrowth to be obscured from view? Who told them that they are completely camouflaged because the bark and twigs surrounding them at that point are the exact shade of brown as their fur? Who told them to stand completely still at that point? Who, in fact, gave them that exact shade of brown?
Evolutionist will, of course, argue that deer with different colored fur didn’t survive because they were more visible, and the ones with this exact shade did because they weren’t–but how will they explain the constraint on a deer’s natural desire to bolt? A scared animal runs, and it runs long enough and far enough until it no longer feels threatened. This deer was clearly too close to me to not feel threatened–I’ve never been that distance from a deer in an open space. Is it smart enough to look down at its fur and around itself at its surroundings and surmise that it’s effectively hidden from view and no longer needs to run–yet that it does need to stand perfectly still so as not to give away its location by its movement? Not to be offensive to the deer, but is there that much conscious reasoning capacity within a brain the size a deer possesses?
I would say say not. No, it didn’t consciously reason out its invisibility to human observation–God gave it understanding; what we call instinct. For whatever reason, the deer understands not to keep bolting through the woods, even though it also clearly perceives that it is still in potential danger, as it stands seemingly immobilized until the threat passes.
This is but one instance, one argument, one proof God has instilled into His created world to give evidence of Himself to those who don’t insist on setting their hearts against Him–those with honest, open, questioning minds. There are many others–they are all around us in fact–in every living creature in some way, shape or form. All of creation testifies to its Creator; sadly, in fact, it is we alone who sometimes fail to reflect His glory to the world around us. Of all of creation, God has given us choice because of Jesus, and humankind is free to reflect God’s glory, or “…suppress the truth by their wickedness.” It is so sad when we read that, “They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:18-20 NLT)
May we always glorify God!
Thank You that even the animals teach us about You! Amen.