LESSONS FROM THE HUNT
I have always loved and appreciated the beauty and splendor of God’s creation. The natural beauty surrounding us is a constant connection to God as I observe His marvelous handiwork. I can never recall a time that I did not love being outdoors. Activities such as hunting, fishing, boating, camping and hiking are my default preferences for ways to spend my free time. Through the years the most passionate of those outdoor pursuits has been archery hunting. The challenge of pursuing game within a few yards in order to make a harvest has always proven to be a worthy challenge. These are some lessons I have learned through my hunting experiences that have both practical and spiritual applications as well. I’ll share four of those with you here.
Preparation – Ben Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Hunting, like any successful pursuit requires a great deal of planning and preparation. Many more hours are spent on the planning and preparation for an upcoming hunting season than are actually spent afield. When a trophy animal is harvested, it is often referred to as luck. While that may play a role in outdoor pursuits, there is no substitute for planning and hard work. If you want to increase your odds of success in anything you’re attempting, planning and preparation are critical.
Solitude – With all the expectations and pressures of life, there is a huge demand placed upon our time and energy. Finding some down time to refresh and recharge is critical to our bodies, mind and spirit. Jesus himself took time to find a place of solitude to rest and to pray. Some of my greatest times of refreshing for my soul have come while being alone in a tree stand meditating, praying and worshipping God. Don’t be afraid to experience times of solitude.
Perspective – The word itself can be used in reference to a change in a natural view or a change in a mental outlook. Hunting affords me both. From an elevated tree stand, the perspective of everything changes. The things on the ground seem much smaller and I’m able to see things and places I could never see from a ground-level position. Sometimes we need to experience a change of perspective in order to see things the way God would have us view them. Isaiah 55:9 (NIV) says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Patience and Perseverance – These are not my strongest points! Hunting, however, has trained me to be more disciplined, patient and to persevere. Even if I scout, plan, prepare and have a good perspective, it does not guarantee success. Making a successful harvest while hunting with a bow and arrow may take weeks, months, or even years. Galatians 6:9 (NIV) is a great reminder of this concept. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Whatever our personal or professional pursuits and interests, we can always learn some valuable lessons from them. Occasionally take time to slow down, be alone and get a fresh perspective on things so that your planning and preparations can be maximized according to God’s purpose.