By Gary Miller
If you look at most of my hunting and fishing trips from the standpoint of harvesting game, you would conclude that I was unsuccessful. Most of the time I leave home with great expectations only to return with the reality of an unfilled tag or an empty live well. I remember a commercial where a man’s wife watched her husband leave each Saturday morning with his fishing rod and Labrador only to come back home that afternoon with just his fishing rod and his faithful companion. She wondered why he continued to go. I can also remember the days when my children were young, that I would return home from a hunting trip and would be faced by three children with the same question: “Did you get anything?” They got so used to the same answer they began not to ask. (I’m sure glad that our sustenance was not based on me bringing home the meat) What I found out over the years, however, was that I did not become a better hunter or fisherman on days the harvest was easy but I became better, most of the time, on the days that I came home empty-handed. Let’s face it; it doesn’t take much know-how to go out and catch fish when they are biting everything that comes in front of them. Nor is much knowledge gained when that deer meanders by your treestand 10 minutes after daylight. Knowledge to become a better outdoorsman is gained through the tough times. It happens when we shoot high on that deer or don’t set the hook on that bass. It’s those times that we come home better than when we left, whether we have something to show for it or not. And even though we want to fill a tag, it’s better to come home better.
This is also the way God works. God is not interested in what we do or what we “harvest” at the expense of what we are becoming. He is interested in us being better. Better husbands or wives, better fathers or mothers, and better at who He designed us to be as a people made in His image and as Christians. This doesn’t happen during the easy days but during the days when there is nothing in our hands to show for our effort except the calluses of being faithful. The prize, however, is not merely a trophy for a moment of success but it is the difference in being someone who caught a fish and someone who is a fisherman.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.