Jimmy Sites is a preacher, bible teacher, philanthropist, television personality, sportsman, and family man who says, “My father has been my #1 role model and hero as a man for all my life. He has shaped me more than any other man alive.” Jimmy holds a theology degree in one hand and a muzzleloader in the other. He speaks to children as well as grandparents using the platform of the outdoors and the Word of God and advocates for both. His website JimmySites.com is filled with videos, resources, and more on his exchange of a 5000 member congregation for a worldwide audience in God’s creation.
One morning when my kids were fairly young, we were traveling along the dirt road leading from our farm to the highway. I was taking Christin and Jonathan to school and then heading to the office for staff meeting.
As our truck rolled past a large pasture on the left, I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye. About 200 yards down the side of the pasture, along a fence row separating the pasture from some woods, was a deer.
At first I didn’t think much of it. I typically saw as many as a dozen deer along those two-and-a-half miles of dirt road before reaching the highway. But this deer was different. It seemed to be hanging face-down, as though caught on a tree limb, thrashing like a bream on the end of a stringer.
Suddenly my mind registered what I was seeing. A young doe was caught in the barged-wire fence. Her hind leg was trapped at the top, while her front hooves touched the ground just enough for the little deer to support a small measure of her weight.
I quickly pulled over and flagged down the truck behind me. “Do you have any wire cutters” I asked, pointing out the deer and her predicament.
“Sure don’t,” the driver said, “but I’ll tell the farmer down the road and send him up here.”
Christin, Jonathan, and I scrambled out of the truck and began navigating around the mud holes, trekking across the pasture toward the frantic deer. I explained to them that we needed to approach slowly and quietly to avoid scaring the deer any further.
Then we began to sing.
I’m not sure why. We just did. And the song seemed to fit the situation just perfectly. Maybe you know the one: “As the deer panteth for the water—“ Hauntingly, the little doe slowed her painful lunging and looked squarely in our direction. Her soft brown eyes seemed to be drowning in fear.
I slowly, very gently approached the yearling. My heart hurt for the beautiful animal, and I desperately wanted to free her. But the closer I came, the more frantic the deer became. She just didn’t understand that my intentions were good.
After a few more steps, I was able to reach out and touch the doe. I began to gently stroke her head, neck, and back as I wrapped one arm around her little body. I spoke soothing words to her. At first she began to settle down, but then panic once again took hold and threw her into a spasm, causing her to thrash even harder than before, inflicting fresh, new damage to her body. She just didn’t understand that she couldn’t save herself, that I was her way out of this dilemma.
After several long, tense minutes of struggle, the neighboring farmer arrived with his wire cutters, snipping the strand of fence that was holding the little doe prisoner. Her freed hind leg touched painfully to the ground, and I released my hold on her. The little doe began to drag herself away from us with her front feet. Both hips were dislocated. Much internal damage had been done. I knew she wouldn’t make it.
“Daddy, is she going to be okay?” asked seven-year-old Christin, tears welling up in her eyes.
“Well, she has a better chance now than she did.” I replied, not knowing how much of my skepticism I should share. Both Christin and Jonathan prayed for the little deer all the way to school.
That afternoon, I went by and checked on the little doe. As I expected, she was lying all alone in the same filed where we had last seen her. Dead. I stood over her lifeless body and thought, “Oh little one, if only you hadn’t tried to save yourself. If only you had let me do your saving for you.”
I wonder how many times God says these same words to man?