By Gary Miller
I’m trying to pace myself. I know the deer season can get long and tiresome. It can also really mess with work and family… and life. So, right now, it’s better for me to hold off just a little longer before I make the turn from regular human to deer hunter. If my trail cameras would have shown me pictures of nicer bucks, I would do my work now. But smaller bucks will not get me out of the bed and into the gnarly weather like a trophy buck will in November and December. Then, the potential prize will outweigh the assured cost.
For many years now, I have spent the early days of November hunting deer in Missouri. It seems no matter when I go, the winds are blowing hard. Mix them with rain, snow, and/or the bitter cold and we have conditions that can zap every ounce of energy from one’s body. While I do have some great memories of deer activity, I also have extremely indelible recollections of days when I was clinging to a tree during 40-mile per hour winds while it was raining, and of times when the shivers would not let me stay still enough to hunt.
And it was all because I had the best chance to see a trophy buck during that particular time of the month. It’s amazing what deer hunters will put ourselves through for the potential of harvesting a buck of a lifetime. We do it not only for the prize but also because the window of opportunity is very small. It’s so small that to miss one week during November is to miss a big percentage of potentially the most productive time of the whole season. And there is no second chance, only next year.
It rubs me wrong somewhat when I hear people comparing the excitement over hunting or over a ball game to the seemingly lack of excitement over church or the things of God. It goes something like this. “I wish men would get as excited over coming to church as they do going hunting.” I always want to reply, “Then only ask them to come two months out of the year and they might!” It’s really comparing apples and oranges. I don’t live my Christian life for its excitement value. It’s not a competition like a ball game or a strategic pursuit like a hunt. I’m a Christian not because the truth about Christ excites me, even though sometimes it does. But I’m a Christian because the truth about Christ convinces me. And not only does it convince me but because I am convinced, I am compelled to live according to its truths whether I am excited about the ramifications or not. In fact, if the Bible is true, it has not promised me excitement or even commanded me to be excited, but it has promised me persecution from a misunderstanding world. And I’m not too excited about that. The consolation, however, is that one day the work of the gospel will be over and all that’s left will be the excitement of victory with the Father.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org