It is that time of year, once again, when men pause to lift their voices in thanksgiving to God!   Yes, it is deer season.   How do I know?  About half of our church was missing last Sunday and it wasn’t due to a virus.

I am not a hunter, but I am curious, so I hunted up some information on deer.

In the fragile balance of nature, I learned that deer can be a threat to us.   It was during rutting (mating) season that a big buck lowered his head and charged the car of a friend.  (maybe the car was an impala.)

It is more likely, however, that a deer will accidentally collide with a moving automobile.  There are about 1.5 million deer-related car accidents in the U.S. each year, costing over $1 billion dollars in vehicle damage.  Sadly, there are also 175-200 fatalities every year and 10,000 injuries.

This is why I purchased deer whistles and attached them to my front bumper.  As I drive, air passes through them and creates a high-pitched sound which scatters the deer away.  Although…I may have installed them backwards because the deer seem to gather on the road when I approach.

Hunters are, of course, the biggest threat to deer.   On average, more than 6 million deer are killed by hunters in the United States per year, while approximately 10 million Americans hunt them (which means there are 4 million unhappy hunters each year).

And there is a good reason why churches are deserted on the opening weekend.   If you don’t bag a buck then, you may be up a creek. 

Using GPS trackers, experts have learned that deer respond to hunting pressure within the first three days of the season.   They change their patterns, they move less, hide more and when they do move, it is to where the hunters are not.  They know when they are being hunted and they flee.

The prophet Habakkuk understood deer habits and he also had a good grasp of the nature of God.  He wrote of Him, “The Lord God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.“  KJV – Habakkuk 3:19

The prophet was a citizen of Judah, a nation that had raced to embrace sin and had left God in the dust.  People like Habakkuk were on the most wanted list.  His message of repentance was repulsive to the masses and needed to be censored.

And then God had declared judgment upon them.  He promised to open the nation’s gates to the marauding Babylonians who would level the land and take her people into exile. 

There was little hope for his nation, but lots for him.  He considered God to be His strength – His wherewithal with which to meet the opposition and the devastation.

He also compared himself to a hind – a female deer.   God became to him a refuge during the hunting season.  It was as if he were fleeing the forest for the high places – far from his predators.  And like the surefooted hind, he would not stumble there, but walk securely because of the Lord.   The higher a deer ascends, the less accessible he is to hunters.

I must confess, at times I wonder if the hunt is on.  I am increasingly finding my Christian values out of sync with a predatory culture. 

How is it that believing the ancient words of Scripture is now considered a hate crime?   Why have the pandemic meeting restrictions been so much more severe on the churches than on casinos and bars?   When did it become so heinous for a Supreme Court nominee to be a person of faith?  

There was once a time when people of opposing values could respectfully disagree.  These days, opposing values have become imposing values.   When I am unwilling to concede certain biblical truths, I seem to be regarded as an enemy of social truth.  

Hunting season is underway so maybe you and I should join Habakkuk and find our refuge with the Lord on high. The air is clear up there.  The elevated view puts everything in perspective and our hearts will rest securely with Him. 

A PRAYER:  Lord help me find that place of peace above the fray.