By Gary Miller
I’ve always considered myself a prepared hunter – some would say over prepared. I very rarely go into the woods without my backpack. During the colder months this is especially true. Since I’m never absolutely sure as to what the weather will bring, I take just about everything. My backpack is over three-thousand cubic inches. I strategically place additional clothes in it or strapped to it. I carry additional socks, gloves, headgear, and even an extra base-layer shirt just in case I sweat too much while getting to the stand. The nooks and crannies are stuffed full of other things like snacks, a drink, my reading glasses, a book, paper, pen, and my phone. And there’s also my umbrella and rain gear. In addition to all of this I carry a fanny pack as well; full of calls, scents, rope, compass, trimmers, and anything else that suits my fancy.
Now some of you are already laughing at my overkill. You’re not the first. I’ve never weighed my gear but I figure that it really doesn’t matter because the burden of the load is a small price to pay in order to be a more prepared, and even satisfied, hunter. Sometimes the weight is cumbersome. Walking the hills most assuredly puts a toll on my legs, but as the season progresses it eventually becomes almost unnoticeable.
Some of you, right now, are carrying a load of a different kind. It’s a burden that weighs on your heart and mind. It may be one you have caused or one you had nothing to do with. These burdens come through all sorts of circumstances from sickness, the concern over a child, the loss of a job, divorce, or a host of other things. Your mind is questioning the purpose of such a burden and the devil is quick to answer your question by casting the guilt squarely in your lap and telling you, “If you had only (fill in the blank) this would have never happened, and now God will abandon you to suffer the consequences alone.”
The Bible is clear about the devil and his ways. It says he is the father of lies and his purpose is to destroy your faith by causing you to doubt and disbelieve the Word of God.
The truth of the scriptures assures us of several things. They tell us we are loved by God, He will never leave us, and that He has promised to bring good to our lives even in the midst of our burdens. He has also promised to us, peace. Having peace, many times, doesn’t come from the burden being taken away but by changing our mind concerning it. My backpack was not a burden because I knew in my mind it would make me better prepared. The weight was the same but my mind counted it worthwhile. What you may need right now is not your burden removed but only to see it from the perspective of God. It is not bigger than He. In fact it is simply a tool in His hands to prepare you for what He is making you to be. Ask God to give you peace in your trial. The Bible says He will give it in such a way that it will surprise even you.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org