As the Deer Pants for Streams of Water

Isn’t this doe captivating?  I have been awed by her beauty ever since my brother sent me this photo he took of her.  When I think she might not even be alive anymore because of the hunting season, my heart breaks.
I can just imagine her run and leap as she flees from the hunters.  Her sides heave and her nostrils quiver.  Her open mouth pants with thirst.  Will her enemy ever stop seeking her?  Where can she get a drink to revive her?
I know it’s silly, but I can’t help but cringe for the deer out there.  Someone once asked me, “Are you a vegetarian?”  Well, no, but still…
“You eat meat, don’t you?” he asked. Yes, but somehow eating hamburger or chicken seems different. 
I try to reason with myself that not every hunter is out for the sport of killing these beautiful creatures.  Many do use the meat.  My son even assures me that he aims for immediate death so the deer won’t suffer.
It is true that deer do overpopulate some areas, and there is not enough plant growth for all of them during harsh winters.  Starvation is a slow, painful death.  I will also admit they do become a hazard to drivers, and there is no way I would choose a deer’s life over a human life. 
So I go back and forth in my mind.  I feel like such a hypocrite, because I have tried eating deer meat.  It’s not my favorite, but I do find little pieces of it wrapped in bacon and grilled are tasty. 
But still, something cringes in my heart every time I hear another deer is down.  Even when I see one along the roadside, I can’t help but say, “Poor deer.” 
Perhaps I feel such a connection with deer because I envy their state of being wild and free, just out there doing what God intended for them.  Or maybe it’s because I can identify with Psalm 42, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God.”
Sometimes spiritually and emotionally, enemies from the past relentlessly pursue us, and we become so weary that we can’t go on anymore.  We become lost and can’t find the fountain that will quench our thirst and revive our souls for this journey on earth. 
Dear reader, is this you?  Please come.  Come to the bottomless Fountain of hope!

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