Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)
So, it is that time of year again. I have spent the last couple of months working through research for this fall’s western expedition. I have poured over units, satellite images, harvest and draw data and completed my wife and my applications for this fall’s hunt. Awww the Rockie Mountains, back packs, boot tread, bows, big sky, big timber and big game, I love it. The anticipation is running high and will only continue to climb over the next few months.
This year, things are different for me though. I have been venturing into the mountains in pursuit of adventure and big game since 2003. I enjoy it. I dream about it. I have a hard time waiting for it. As I worked through my process this winter, things were different though. As I poured over my research and maps, it was with new eyes. As if it is a different man.
After last year’s hunt, I had a shameful revelation. In all the years I have headed into the mountains, I have thoroughly enjoyed and relished every step. Even when getting cliffed out and spending an unexpected, unprepared night on a near vertical mountainside. I have filled far less tags than I’ve eaten, got plenty of bumps, bruises and blisters along the way. Despite all the hardship, the rewards always far outweighed the demands. Throughout it all, in any situation, I was always able to keep pressing on with a faithful optimism that the next opportunity was waiting around the next bend or over the next ridge. Filling a tag had always been a very small factor in the equation. I had always been able to maintain an appreciation for the pursuit and adventure of just being in God’s playground. Last year I lost sight of that. Shortly into our hunt, I allowed frustration to set in. It took root, soured my attitude and it showed. I was horrible. I had no appreciation for where I was or what I was privileged to be a part of. For the first time, I couldn’t wait for the hunt to be over! It didn’t end with the elk hunt, either. I allowed it to follow me into my whitetail season, as well. Who was that guy?! Shameful!!!
The revelation didn’t come immediately, but fortunately it did come. You could say, God and I had a little heart to heart. Mine was dark and with His grace, we cleaned it out.
The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:8,15 (NKJV)
God created for us a veritable playground! He created it for us, to care for and enjoy. How many times I’ve sat on a mountain top, in a tree stand or the bank of a river and been humbled by God’s glorious workmanship. How many times I’ve sat and marveled at this gift He created for us. How did I lose that? How could I allow satan to poison that affection, embitter and deceive me like that. How dare I allow him to dismantle something that I love, a gift from God? I’m human. The devil got to me. I didn’t let him in as much as I didn’t see him coming. That’s how he works, the great deceiver. Whatever he can do to draw your focus from God, from His grace, gifts and love, he will employ. Satan hates us, because God loves us. He will never stop trying to pervert and corrupt what God so graciously provides.
No more. God saw him coming and knew what he was up to before he did. He wrapped His loving arms around me and sheltered me once again. God came in and wiped the slate clean. He reminded and renewed me, yet again.
I finished my Iowa archery season with a renewed appreciation and affection for God’s provision. I set the course for this fall’s excursions with new eyes and a clean heart. Satan tried. God won! He always will!!!
By the way, that’s my wife Rebecca standing at 11,100 feet above sea level in the High Uinta Wilderness. Yes, she bowhunts and sorry fellas, she’s taken!!!
Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. Genesis 27:3 (NKJV)
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,