May I Have This Dance
It was just after sunrise when I opened the side garage door to go about my routine wildlife feeding. I love how the early-morning sun casts its soft glow over God’s beautiful creation. Everything is so peaceful, so undisturbed. It’s one of the many perks to country living.
There were two grown deer about a stone’s throw from me. Females would be my guess, unless our male decided to finally part with his antlers. My entrance onto their tranquil scene put them on red alert. Heads were up, noses in the air. One careless move on my part, and they’d bolt. They say horses are notorious for two things—fright and flight. They got that from deer.
Anyway, so there I was, empty bucket in hand, silhouetted in the light from the door, staring down two deer. If this conjures up mouthwatering deer steaks and stews, perhaps this blog isn’t for you. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no deer hugger. But at our house we don’t eat family members. That’s just the way it is.
I decided to make my way, as unobtrusively as possible, to the corn bin beside the driveway to fill my bucket. They’d no doubt come back as soon as the coast was clear.
When I turned back, to my surprise they were still there—two very striking, stone-like statues standing in our yard. “Hello there,” I said in my kindliest, I-mean-you-no-harm tone. I took my first steps forward.
Stare, stare, stare.
“How are you this fine morning?” I asked, inching forward.
A front leg twitched. A body shifted ever-so-slightly.
Deciding that I’d best get to throwing my love offering before they skedaddled out of there, I took a step and gently tossed a handful of corn, took another step and tossed. All the while carrying on a friendly, one-sided conversation with my hypnotized friends. I never tire of mingling with such elusive, exquisitely graceful creatures. I’ve wooed and courted them enough times with my step, toss routine, it’s become like a dance. Our dance.
I am still under round-eyed observation. But they’ve not moved. What is it about me that transfixes them so? Is it paralyzing fear? Curiosity? Fascination? Perhaps we’ve finally progressed into a friendship of sorts. I am ever hopeful.
Step, toss, step, toss, step, toss . . . I realized I was holding my breath. Breathe! How wonderfully wild and gentle these two looked. How on edge. It was probably best not to press my good fortune. There would be another day, another opportunity to find favor and perhaps enter their inner sanctum. I stopped less than a car’s length from the first deer, gave one last toss, one last up-close, wistful look and turned back to the garage.
They were still standing stock-still where I left them when I reached the door. I smiled and went inside.
A quick peek through the kitchen window showed no ill-effects from our chance encounter. They were leisurely eating away. I consider this progress. Yet, what a fragile relationship it is that we have. If only they understood how much I adore them. How I long for their trust and friendship. I mean them no harm; I am for them, not against them.
Then it occurred to me that there have been times in my walk with the Lord when I likened Him to those guarded deer. Especially in my early years. Ours was a fragile, walking-on-eggshells relationship back then. One wrong move on my part, and I was certain He’d leave. I watched my P’s and Q’s lest I offend. Was convinced that He was measuring my performance, keeping track of me with scrutinizing eye, looking for even the slightest mess up so He could call it quits.
Oh, the energy I spent, holding out my little love offerings, hoping to persuade Him to love me and stay with me despite my failings. I was actually surprised the day someone told me, “The Lord wants you to know He really likes you”. Did they say ‘likes me’ as in . . . likes? I couldn’t imagine something so wonderful. Sure, God loves the world, but that wasn’t the same. Likes makes me think He might actually be fond of me, enjoy my company. That truth finally found its way into my heart and took root.
This is no fickle relationship we’ve entered into. Jesus is in this for life. And so are we. “May I have this dance for the rest of your life . . .” is His love song to us (song by Karen Farrell). We must move past the courtship stage where we’re constantly trying to make a good impression on Him. In all of our pursuit of God—reaching for excellence of soul, for surrendered will, for purity of heart—we need to keep in mind that He was the one who loved us and drew us in the first place, and it’s His love that sustains us. He’s the one who said, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself and Behold Me, Behold Me (John 12:32; Isaiah 65:1). We weren't the seekers and pursuers. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son . . . How much more [certain], now . . . we shall be (daily) saved through His [resurrection] life (Romans 5:8, 10).
He will not shy away like those deer when we don’t get things exactly right. We have found favor with Him. We’ve entered His inner sanctum. He not only likes us, He adores us. We are in the dance—our dance with Him. And with Him in the lead, those difficult and at times complex dance steps we will indeed learn because He is for us, not against us.