For the last few months, a crippled doe has found a place of rest in our front yard. She was born with a severely deformed leg and has been limping about three-legged all of her short life. The other deer is her brother, a young spike-horned buck who always stays by her side. I am surprised the little doe has not become an easy meal for the coyotes and cougars that live in the hills above our home.
I am taking a special interest in the plight of the crippled doe. A week ago, I had surgery to reattach a ruptured tendon in my left leg. Unlike the doe, I will only be out of commission for a couple of months. This morning, I filled out a form to ask the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles to issue me a temporary handicapped parking permit, so I will not have to hobble long distances across hot asphalt parking lots to go shopping during my recovery.
Before my surgery, I only offered the crippled deer a passing nod of sympathy. Now, I see her plight from the pain of my personal experience. My temporary setback has also caused me to appreciate Jesus in a new way. He went through so much so He could identify in a personal way with the suffering we all experience in this life.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need” (Hebrews 4: 15-16).
Today, as I manage my leg pain and my attitude, my greatest consolation is not my eventual healing and restoration, but the knowledge that our Lord has been through much worse than any of our passing earthly afflictions offer. Because of His sacrifice, He is able to offer us the abundant mercy and grace we will need to endure whatever may come in our time of need.