By Gary Miller
All hunters should admit there are certain fears that come along with our sport. In my part of the country the list of creepy creatures is growing. Bears are becoming more numerous as well as mountain cats and plenty of rattlesnakes and copperheads. And I have to admit that in some of these places I tend to look over my shoulder when going in and out of the woods.
I’ve also had the opportunity to hunt in other states as well. Most of the time I give little thought to anything but the game I’m after, but on some trips I’m well aware of what might be lurking. I can remember on several occasions being in the Deep South and keeping a watchful eye for alligators and those pesky but poisonous cottonmouths.
And the Northwest has too many grizzlies for me to be completely comfortable. I know of some hunters who are almost paranoid when it comes to being in the woods after dark. Some refuse to go and others will only go if they are with someone else. It’s all about fear. Some fear is healthy – even smart. It keeps us in check, causes us to be better prepared, and keeps us from bad decisions. But fear is also a great hindrance. Even though I don’t like the possibility of encountering an unwanted animal, I’m not going to let it keep me from enjoying hunting. And fear must not be the deciding factor in other areas of my life as well.
Most people live very mundane lives because of fear. Fear locks them up. It keeps them within the safe confines of what they can see and hear. If they think about going outside certain boundaries, something inside them automatically begins to bring to mind all that might go wrong. Most sink back into normalcy when this happens.
If there is to be any growth in our life we will have to learn to deal with fear. Fear is not the enemy. It lets us know that we are living in a realm that we have not visited before. That realm is faith. Faith, as the Bible says, is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. God always calls us to this way of life. He speaks His truth to us and asks us to follow and believe Him even when we can’t see the way. He does this so we and the watching world will know He can be trusted, that He can accomplish more in us that we can do ourselves, and so He will get the glory.
Has God called you to something bigger than yourself? Have you been paralyzed by fear? Don’t run from it; instead recognize it for what it is. It’s simply a sign that’s letting you know you’re about to enter the land of spiritual giants.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org