I understand that not everyone deer hunts or has even the remotest desire to. I respect all of those people and their different likes, interests and hobbies so this is in no way seeking to convert anyone to hunting. However, deer hunting has been a long standing November tradition in my family and I wanted to share a few reasons as to why I believe it’s about much more than hunting an animal.
1.) It forces me to spend time alone with God. There is a powerful reality that exists, when you walk into the woods in the dark am hours, sit down and wait for the sun to rise. I often arrange my seat and then sit in the deep forested, cold silence and stare up at the stars. In those moments, it’s like you almost can’t help but begin praying to the mighty God of the Universe. Then the Sun rises and with it, the woods come alive with various wildlife activity that in some strange way fills the soul to the brim as you sit there and watch. It’s no wonder Romans 1 says, “His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…”
2.) It’s incredible quality time with my family, most of all my son. There are no words to adequately describe the joy I feel sitting in a 2 man ground blind with my oldest boy, whispering about life while watching the woods around us. As I was sipping coffee during a brisk afternoon hunt, Preston was asking me how I met and married his mother. I told him how we met in college and he asked how I knew to marry her. I told him how God confirmed it in our hearts and answered various prayers and he asked me how old he should be before getting married. On and on it went. I firmly believe that I have a vital window of opportunity with all 4 of my little kids to build myself a place in their hearts. Deer season this year provided me a chance to deepen the bond with my young son. My hope and prayer is that special moments like these will allow me, their Earthly father, to have a voice of credibility and influence in their lives as they grow older. When the conversations get much more serious, and huge life decisions are before them, I pray that God will have used these quiet moments in the woods to make them open to my fatherly counsel.
3.) It makes me miss my beautiful wife. When I 1st met Erin, I was “smoked” instantly. That was 16 years ago. I love her more now than I ever have in our nearly 12 year marriage. With what God has done and continues do through the ministry, I am gone more these days than I used to be. I cannot stand being away from her! But in a strange way, I like missing her. As I spent hours sitting in the woods this week, my mind wandered most consistently to thoughts of my wife. I like when I come home through the door and she is standing there. I love my other kids that weren’t old enough to go yet and I missed them immensely, but not as much as I missed Erin. Apart from Jesus, she is the most important person that will ever be in my life and I spent a lot of time in the woods thanking God for her.
4.) I like actually deer hunting too…but it’s way behind the above mentioned.