I had watched several bucks from the safe confines of a barn. They came out each evening and fed in a field that had only been planted about a month prior. Of the five bucks that were pretty consistent, there was one 10 pointer that I kept my eye on even though he was not much bigger than one of the large 6-pointers.
When the season opened, I sat in my stand for two afternoons in a row only to watch the deer stay several yards below the reach of my bow. After the second day I determined to make a move further into the woods and try to make up the distance. Well, as it usually happens, guess where the deer showed up the next evening? You’re right. They were above me where my stand had previously been. They were milling right at the edge of the field and moving toward the center.
I immediately figured my hunt was over except for three things that suddenly hit me:
1. It was still fairly early in the evening.
2. The wind was blowing, and
3. It was beginning to rain….. So stalk mode set in and everything changed.
I got down out of my stand and eased my way back up the hill keeping one tree after another between me and the line of sight of these deer. When I got to the rolling field, these bucks had moved to a place that allowed me to crawl for about forty yards without being spotted. After those forty yards, there was a line of sunflowers and sorghum that I would have to filter through and then a stand of weeds that were about knee high that would have to be my last stop before shooting. After maneuvering through each obstacle, I finally settled in the weeds, both knees in the ground, drizzling rain running down my body, and ranging my buck at twenty-five yards away. I drew my bow and let the arrow go. Perfect shot! What a hunt! What an adventure! What a story! It truly is one I will never forget. Oh yeah, and then there was the buck.
After giving the deer ample time to expire, I began the search and soon spotted his rack in the distance. It was a nice rack but I had shot the 6-pointer. I still don’t know when the transfer happened. I think it had to be as I was hunkered down in the weeds but I’m not sure. But the neat thing about this hunt is that it still remains one of my best because of the quest involved.
What we all have to remember is that while a picture can bring a wow factor, the story is what brings the memory. A business owner may be proud of the fact he owns a business, but it’s only because he knows what it took for that to happen. Those who put a flag at the top of a mountain do not do so to portray a single moment in time, but the end of an adventure that most have not taken. Pictures and prizes are not what keep me hunting. That’s why many hunters go home empty handed. It’s not because they could not have harvested an animal but because the journey would not have given the mount any integrity.
What is true in hunting and in other areas of life is also true as I follow Christ. Sure I want results but God knows those results lose their value – their integrity, if the journey is not equal to the prize. I know you want this thing to end. I know it seems that you have been climbing and crawling for years. I know it seems like for every three steps forward, you get knocked back two. But I also know this, especially if you are a man; you have been built for the adventure, for the journey, and for the risk and God is using your life to tell a story about Himself. Let Him do it and not only will you be gripped by the adventure but you will be thrilled by the prize.
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