Back when I lived in Oklahoma I hunted deer in an area in Southeast Oklahoma in what native Oklahomans called mountains. Come Thanksgiving week every year my deer hunting buddy and I would set up camp about a half mile on a long forgotten logging trail that ran along the side of a mountain. About a half mile was about as far as we dared to drive with my truck as the trail was overgrown with forest undergrowth and occasional rocks. From camp I would hike back into the timber. Through the years I discovered different places where deer crossed the trail. I would follow the deer trails back into the forest and at different places I would sit and watch.
At about one to two miles along the logging trail there was a dilapidated fence line. I would follow the fence line down the side of the mountain, ending in an open valley with the most luxurious grass floor you could ever wish to see. The grass was so green and thick it was almost like walking on pillows. At the edge of this beautiful place I would always stop and wait. I had seen deer here on several locations.
One November morning I will never forget. It wasn’t because I saw a deer, but because of the perfect peace I felt sitting in the grass with my back to a tree. The day began with a chill in the air, but as the sun rose higher in the sky it began to warm up. It felt so peaceful, so comfortable I dozed off to sleep.
I always come back to Psalm 23 when I think about that morning in the valley. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Perfect peace in Jesus, constant, faithful, unchanging, resting in his arms…
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety,” Psalm 4:8. I don’t know if any deer came by or not, but the peace and warmth I experienced was better than any deer.
May the peace of Jesus be with you this Christmas, and every other day of your life. My prayer is “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” Phil 4:7 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27