Even though it's still summer, the deer hunters are getting prepared for another season. While it may be a few weeks until the season opens, there is much to do in order to be ready for opening day – especially if you hunt with a bow. Right now I'm checking trail cameras, hanging tree stands and trying to figure out where the deer are likely to be early in the season. And it is not always where one might think.
I am reminded of an Alabama hunt several years ago. I was with a friend on a piece of property which was owned by a rancher who not only raised cattle but managed for quality deer. It really was a beautiful place and just riding around on it caused me to get extremely excited about the possibilities. That afternoon would be our first hunt, so the rancher "carried us" (that's Alabama vernacular for drive us) to the stands where we would hunt. As we passed through the pasture he pointed to one lone cedar tree about 200 yards from a wood line and said, "Somebody needs to sit right there." My partner and I silently wondered where exactly he was talking about. And then he said, "See that blue milk crate? Sit on it and lean up against that cedar tree." Now this was not exactly the place where either of us imagined we would spend our time hunting. After all, it didn't look like or feel like it had any possibility whatsoever of producing anything but shade for an afternoon nap. I was expecting my tree stand to be labeled Lone Wolf or something, but this one said Mayfield Dairy. After debating on which one of us would have this honor, my friend drew the short straw and jumped out of the truck (boy was I relieved!). That evening he killed a giant 11 pointer. Who would've ever "thunk" it? The moral of the story: It is better to take the word of the rancher than to go to with what feels or looks good. Period! I wished we would focus more on that same truth in our experience with God.
Let me ask you something. Do you have to feel the presence of God to know He's there? Or are you satisfied with His simple word that says, "I will never leave you or forsake you?" Do you need to see some manifestation of His workings to believe He is at work? Or can you simply believe His word when He says, "I am working all things for your good?" On Sunday morning as you sit in church, do you base the quality of your experience on what you may have felt or seen? Or do you understand that true faith simply believes His word, sometimes without any emotions whatsoever? Your answers to these questions will expose the depth of your faith. Is God's word good enough, or does it need to be scotched up with something that appeals to the senses. I hope you are a man or woman who will simply take God at His word and get out of the truck even when it seems He is placing you on a milk crate.