The Trapper

Hey Gang…it’s been a while, I’ve missed you and (I hope) you’ve missed me. Well, the book “treestand devotionals” is out and officially available. It can be purchased through the blog, so if you are receiving this mornings devotional through a direct email, feel free to click the “Title” which takes you to the blog. I’m not asking you to buy a book, but I have 4 kids…its uphill to work both ways…usually snowing…and I have to heat my house with wood!

Good Morning Brothers…

“How long did you say your trap line was?”

“It was about fifty miles long.”

“Fifty miles…!” I sat and pondered that a minute while my companion sat quietly and let my mind process this information. “But…you would have to live on the mountain for 3 months to run a line that long.”

“Yep, that’s about right.”

“How did you do that? I mean…did you sleep in a tent? What did you eat for 3 months? Didn’t you get cold? I mean…how did you do that?”

My companion, the trapper, smiled and I saw his eyes look inward as if he was remembering a different time. He turned his head back toward me and began to explain the process, “I had five camps set up along the trap line. I would start in July or August, hauling in supplies to set up the camps.”

I interrupted, “What did you haul in supplies with…a horse or 4-wheeler?”

“No, I hauled them in on my back.”

“OK,” I said while shaking my head back and forth in disbelief, “what were the typical supplies for camp?”

“Well,” the trapper answered while stretching his legs out with his back against a stump, “each camp had a plastic tarp, a sealed tub with some food, lighter fluid, matches, and usually a sleeping bag. I always had some extra rope in their and I’d tie everything up in a tree about ten feet off the ground.”

“Keep the bears out right?”

“No…wasn’t much worried about bears. Had to tie the stuff up to keep them out of the snow. Once I started running that line, there might be 8-9 feet of snow on the ground. Hard to find camp if it’s buried.”

I sat there slack-jawed, I hadn’t even thought about the snow. This new development to the story caused a question to form in my head, “How did you run the line, did you use a snow machine?”

“No, I wore snowshoes.”

Somewhere within the essence of men, is a desire to be tougher, bolder, and more independent than our peers. Their is another part of our essence that admires men who are tougher, bolder, and more independent than us. We admire men who overcome every obstacle and persevere through every trial to emerge scarred, yet triumphant. Men…wear their scars proudly. Scars tell a story. Scars remind us of where we have been and what we have survived. The Apostle Paul talks about scars in this passage from Romans 5:3-4, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope”

The tribulations we face in life may not be running a trap line in 8 feet of snow for 3 months, but it may be a leaky water pipe, or a bad business deal, or even an adulterous affair. These events may scar us physically, but they will certainly scar us emotionally and spiritually. Keeping a proper perspective of the chain of events is important to controlling the severity of the scar. Perseverance is not achieved without scarring, however, growing spiritually into proven character and hope takes the sting out of the scar because our focus shifts to what’s ahead and not on what’s behind. Once our focus shifts to things ahead, we are operating with hope, or in hope.

Romans 8:24-25 says, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

We may not realize it, but we admire men with hope. We admire the perseverance evident within the character of a man who hopes. To hope…takes courage. It takes courage to place our hope in things unseen and events future. Hope and faith are so closely related I’m not sure I can unravel the differences between the two. To hope…doesn’t mean, “I hope I’m right with this whole Jesus thing?” To hope…means to stand boldly and independently from the world for what we know to be true. We are justified in our position. The passage from Romans 5, which is listed above, is preceded with verses 1 and 2 and followed with verse 5. Pay careful attention to the flow of this passage with verses 3 and 4 removed.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”   Romans 5:1-2, 5

We stand boldly in this grace, because of our faith, which justifies us and puts us into a position of peace before the Judge, because of Jesus Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. We exult, we shout, we sing praises because Jesus is the hope of the world, and hope doesn’t disappoint. We know this to be true because of the love which pours out of us through the Holy Spirit given to us. Our scars serve as reminders to what life was like before the love of God poured in.

“Didn’t it get lonely up there running that trap line all winter long in the cold and the dark?”

My trapper friend looked me in the eye and with a dismissive shake of the head responded this way, “I was alone, but I was never lonely.”

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

Let us all stand boldly in hope, let our scars remind us of why there is no turning back.

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