My favorite time of the year starts right now. It begins on Halloween and goes for about six weeks. In deer hunting terms, these few weeks involve the pre-rut, rut, post-rut, and secondary rut. Each of these periods offers some exciting times to be in the woods. And if one is limited in the number of days he or she can hunt, concentrating on this window of opportunity will provide the best chances to bring home a trophy. In years past I couldn’t wait for opening day. I was not only looking for meat to put in the freezer, I also thought that one big buck might just show up anytime. Therefore my “window of opportunity” started the end of September and ran through January. This was not only a long period of time, but it was also very draining on me physically and on every other area of my life. I was obsessed. And every day I couldn’t go hunting, I knew that would be the day Mr. Bruiser Buck would walk by. I’m glad I got older and wiser, and slightly more mature. Today, I still love to hunt but I understand that not only do I have more important life responsibilities; I can save my time and energy for a much smaller period of time and still have fun and be successful. It’s the quality over quantity thing. It’s also just being a better manager of life. The benefit I have that some do not, is that hunting and fishing are important for what I do as a writer and speaker. I know that sounds very convenient, and my wife is not very impressed by that excuse either, but nevertheless these experiences give me fuel to write and help me identify with those that I speak to. It allows me not so much to tell my story but understand theirs – and yours.
This is also the story of Christianity and Jesus in particular. It is the story of commonality. It is the story of shared experience. It the story of one window of opportunity that Jesus took – willingly, that gave him understanding of our story. You see, we live in world that is full of suffering, and the most difficult question to answer for those who undergo such tremendous suffering is “Why?” “Why God, do you allow such pain?” “Why God, is there so much evil?” “Why God, are there so many people who are without?” God has not chosen to give us very satisfying answers at times, but what he did choose to do was identify with our suffering. And in one small window of time, Jesus (God in the flesh) died; not only so he could tell us of his story of salvation for all, but so he could identify with our story of pain as well. Whatever we may say about Jesus, there is one thing we cannot say. We cannot say he knows nothing of our suffering. And for that he stands alone among all other religions.