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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A couple lessons from the hunter

Okay, occasionally I need a wake-up call, and I know you are probably like that, as well.  We all get to the point sometimes in life when we just are coasting along, finding ourselves with things pretty much going our way, and then all of a sudden we find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of a muddle and we wonder, "How'd this happen?"  Fortunately, those times happen less often for me now than they did when I was a little younger and kind of into doing stuff without thinking about it.  Now that I have a little water under the bridge, I spend a little more time thinking about things before I take the plunge and that has saved me a great deal of hassle and heartache.  One thing I have come to count on as a surety in my life:  God's way is perfect.  Mine may be a little flawed on occasion, but if I will pause long enough to just listen and look for his way, I find it!

God’s way is perfect. The Lord’s promise always proves to be true. He protects those who trust in him. (Psalm 18:30 ERV)

Yep, we need a twofold approach to discovering God's way - listening and looking.  A good hunter will tell you they do a lot of "sitting" and "waiting", all the while they are "gathering information" by listening and watching carefully for signs of the entry of that animal into the place where they are sitting.  I am not suggesting we "catch God" in a trap or anything, but that we can take a lesson or two from a good "hunter".  Here's a couple of things I learned about hunting from those who do this with some frequency:

- They have to scout around a while before they actually determine where it is they want to erect their blind.  They just don't put up their blind (that thing they hide inside which forms a way of camouflaging them) and hope for the best. Some might even spend a little time just hiking the region a few weeks ahead of the hunt just getting to know where the animals look for food, get their water, enjoy the heat of the sunshine through in an open meadow, etc.  They look for tracks, observe trail "signs", and the like.  Why?  If they get to know more about the object they are hunting, they soon will understand where they can be consistently found.  The same is true where it applies to our relationship with God.  When we get to know more about where he moves, when he moves, what he does when he moves, etc., we begin to understand where and how he can consistently be found!

- They learn the "call" of the animal they seek.  My brother can tell you it is a ring-neck dove, quail, etc., just by the call long before he ever sees the bird. Why does he know this?  He has spent a lot of time out in the place these birds live.  He has studied them and he has listened to their calls.  The voice of God is not a mystery to us - we may just not have taken much time to actually listen to it so we aren't all that familiar with it!  When we stop long enough, still our inner voice a little (you know, those voices in our head which keep mulling ideas around over and over), and just listen, we soon find we might hear a different voice speaking.  As we begin to respond to his voice, we find we get a clearer and clearer perception of the way he speaks to us.  In time, we grow accustomed to hearing his voice and we recognize it right away.  

- They are protective about what they hunt.  Most hunters will tell you they aren't just in it for the elimination of a species, but there is a "thinning of the herd" kind of thing going on which some refer to as "wildlife management" techniques.  Only so many licenses are issued, with limits on how many dove, quail, turkeys, etc., one may "bag".  Since they are "licensed" or "permitted" to take only that which their "permits" allow them to take, they aren't there to hunt the other things which come into their focus.  They have their eye on one prize and one prize alone.  This is something we might just do well to learn from our hunter friends - having eyes for only one!  

We may not all be hunters in the sense of taking to the forests and fields in search of wild game, but we are all in search of someone or something in life. When the search is directed toward the one who can fulfill our needs, renew our hearts, and protect our souls from the things which harm us, then the "hunt" is certainly for the right object!  Just sayin!