Unseen

IMG_0886Good Morning Brothers…

One Afternoon in a Treestand

“Lord, I know You can do all things. I know You can cause an elk to turn left instead of right and follow this trail that would lead it right past my treestand. I know You can, but often enough it seems like You don’t. Why is that…?”

(listening for the still small voice)

“I mean, I don’t want to appear ungrateful. I don’t want to sound like I am whining, but this is my 9th year elk hunting and the freezer is still empty. Now Lord, even though I understand that You could…I also understand that I have a responsibility too. Even though I could have spent countless hours in prayer vigil on my porch back in Kansas, crying out for You to provide an elk for me in my yard, I realize that this would be largely fruitless. Again…it’s not that You couldn’t, it’s that You wouldn’t. You wouldn’t provide an elk for me in Kansas where it would be illegal for me to harvest it. I get that, we, as humans, need to take ownership in our prayers and petitions and put ourselves into position to receive Your blessing. Again…I get that, but how far do we have to take it?”

(listening for the still small voice)

“How many cliffs do I need to scale and how many rivers do I need to cross before I am position to receive the blessing of elk in the freezer? I mean Lord…I’ve heard story after story of hunters who hunt elk one day…and they harvest a beautiful bull elk and fill their freezer an adorn their wall. I know that “fair” is not a word in the Bible and we shouldn’t apply principles of “fairness” to our lives. However…this seems quite “unfair”. OK…I’m sorry Lord, I am not suggesting You have treated me unfairly, in fact, You have treated me beyond my deserving. Your blessings have been numerous and varied and have poured out on my family continuously. I’m just frustrated…!”

(a short pause to settle my emotions)

“Lord…I have a bull elk tag. I’m in a state with bull elk, it is legal for me to harvest one. I have a weapon, I have friends on standby to help me get the elk out so it doesn’t spoil, I have everything I need to harvest a bull elk successfully…except the bull elk. What else do I need?”

(FAITH)

“Lord I have faith. I have been crying out to You this entire trip.”

(BUT YOU STILL DOUBT)

The rest of the afternoon I wrestle with the doubt that is in my head. The Lord is correct, I still doubt that provision will be made.

4:30am the Next Morning

I am sitting inside my cabin when I hear the sound of a bull elk bugling next to the cabin. At first, I think it is my hunting partner who lives about 100 feet up the driveway from the cabin. A moment later, I hear another bugle from 10 feet outside my front door. I realize it is a bull elk. I kill the lights and open the door. The hill next to the cabin is alive with the sounds of cow elk, the bull bugles again from the other side of my cabin as he moves off to rejoin the herd. I can’t see him, for dawn is 90 minutes away.

(DO YOU STILL DOUBT MY SOVEREIGNTY…?)

“No Lord…I do not doubt You.”

6:00am the Same Morning

Up the hill I go, alone, following the tracks and pooh left behind by the herd of moving elk. A storm moves in from the north and by the time I reach the top of the mountain, the entire world is shrouded with fog. Visibility is about 20 yards and I feel isolated from civilization. I can’t see the rising sun, the valley below, or where the bends in the trail lead to…I feel directionless. I also feel more alive than I have felt in a long time. There was almost a feeling of divine companionship there on that mountain top. I could feel His presence in the moistness of the fog and the bite of the wind. Just me and Jesus, hunting this big bull elk that bugled at my door hours before.

“OK Lord…lets finish this. Should I follow these tracks or those tracks?”

(listening for the still small voice)

“What do You think Lord…should I go downhill and circle around…or should I stay high and fight the fierceness of this wind?”

(listening for the still small voice)

“It’s just You and me Lord, You and me, where do You want me, show me where You want me. C’mon Lord, I can feel it. They are right below us on that bench somewhere just above the clear cut. Should I set up here…or try to circle down to them?”

(listening)

The wind changed direction, the fog disappeared, the risen sun shined down on me from a bright cloudless sky. The landscape opened up before me and I good tell where I was and which direction I was facing. In that instant, my senses returned and I could feel the withdrawing of power. I felt no disappointment, only the internal gratitude that comes with knowing that I walked the trails of elk pooh with my Lord and Savior. I still have an empty freezer, I still haven’t harvested a bull elk, but I learned a lesson about faith…a lesson I wouldn’t trade for all of the bull elk in the back country.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.”

I was praying for an elk, when the Lord’s desire was for me to pray for time with Him. It took an elk at my door, to find that time to spend with Him.

“Lord…thank You for walking the trail with me.”

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