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Of More Value
Photo: Matt Antonino
“What is that on the fence?” my son asked as we were driving by a local cemetery. “I’m not sure, but it looks like it might be a deer,” he added. My first thought was that maybe someone had shot a deer and hung it there, if indeed it was a deer. Normally, I am in a hurry and wouldn’t take the time to investigate, but today we weren’t rushing anywhere so we turned around to see just what it was on the fence.

Driving slowly, we gazed intently down the fence. There it was. It did appear to be a small deer, caught somehow on the cemetery fence. At first we thought it must be dead, but then its head moved slightly. The cemetery is adjacent to a churchyard so I knocked anxiously on the parsonage door, hoping that someone would be home to help. The pastor’s wife was home and immediately began calling around for assistance.

Fearing that the deer would become overly excited and hurt itself even worse, we cautiously walked through the cemetery to get a closer look. It was then that we noticed another deer, staying close, obviously distressed over the plight of the smaller deer. Her concern for the other deer, perhaps her baby, overshadowed her fear of us and she stayed near despite our presence.

Impaled on the Fence

When I saw that the small deer was indeed impaled on the fence, my heart sank. It was such a sad picture. Unfortunately, the small deer had not jumped quite high enough to clear the fence. As we waited for help to come, I held the deer’s head as it hung there and wondered if there was any hope for it to survive. The fence post had gone up under the skin on its chest but didn’t appear to have gone in deep enough to injure any vital organs. Would the little deer bleed terribly if someone could manage to lift it off the fence? 

Finally, an older man arrived to help. He quickly lifted the deer up and off the fence amidst its heart wrenching bleats. The deer promptly darted away, even jumping another fence. We noticed then that the decorative top piece of the fence post was missing. Our hopes were dashed as we realized that it was probably still inside the little deer. What a relief when my son found the missing piece on the ground. We will probably never know for sure if the deer survived the harrowing ordeal, but it was definitely given a second chance at life.

Thinking about the experience later, I was reminded of Jesus’ words: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will” (Matthew 10:29). This experience gave me a tiny glimpse of God’s heart as I realized that His heart aches for even the tiniest of His creatures.

At times I have difficulty feeling God’s love for me. Theoretically, I know He loves me. My heart is drawn out to Him when I think about all He’s done for me, but it all seems so far off and abstract at times. Yet as I think about the compassion and concern I felt for that little deer, I know that my feelings cannot compare to God’s compassion and care for me. He sees me and knows me and loves me more than I can imagine or understand. 

“Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).

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By Leslie Olin. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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