I made my way to the tree stand on opening day of Tennessee’s deer season. The weather was perfect, including a chance of light rain. I had prepared for this hunt by being meticulous about being scent-free as much as possible. I should have arrived a few minutes earlier, but all in all, everything was good. I was sitting on the edge of a field where deer normally skirt. If they came out, they would do so about 125 yards away and then hopefully make their way below me and maybe within the range of my bow. Sure enough, a few minutes after daylight, three doe show up just where I expected them to be. They lingered and picked around before easing to my left and out of view. I was not concerned, but instead thought they would show back up shortly. I was wrong. I never saw them again. I saw other deer, slightly out of range, but never saw my original three again. My hopes were not dashed because any hope had not appeared yet. Here’s what I mean. Years ago, when I first started hunting, as soon as I saw those deer, my heart would have kicked into a beat just below hyperventilation. I would have been so excited for the opportunity I was certainly about to get. This time, not so much. This time I noticed how their initial appearance did very little to my emotional make-up. There was just too much room between me and them. There was too much time for anything to draw or distract them from the path I hoped they would take. When I realized they were gone for good, I simply turned my attention to other areas and possibilities.
I used to do the same as I watched the lives of so many people. I used to, not only see the possibilities of individuals, but also the clear and certain direction I thought they were going. My heart would beat with excitement as I thought about their potential. Much of the time, if not most of the time, the path I assumed they would take, they didn’t. Something else distracted them and drew them to another place. I was disappointed thinking how they missed their bright and successful future. Many times, I was wrong. As I made my way out of my tree stand that morning, I eased up in the direction where my deer made a change in pattern. There, I discovered an oak tree that was full of those tasty morsels that deer love. There’s no doubt, this is where my doe ended up. Somewhere better. And many of those individuals I had great expectation for, did the same thing. They may not have taken the path I thought was their best, but they ended up somewhere better. It may have not even been the path they desired. It may have been one that was forced on them. But nevertheless, better. Why? Because God has promised all things would work out for the good to those who love him. And he is doing the same in your life.
Gary has written the Outdoor Truths article for 20 years. He has also written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations