March 21, 2020:
For the devotion today, I thought I would share a couple of observations from an experience I had a few years back… and yes, this is true
I was black powder (muzzleloader) deer hunting with friends. Well, one of us shot at a buck and it went down, and he knew he had some meat for the freezer. However, after a little while, this buck got up and walked away. It was now the end of shooting light, so I went to where my friend was, and he told me the story and that we needed to track the deer. Our other friend arrived, the story was shared, and we began tracking this buck. We walked and walked and walked and finally we saw the buck lying by a tree just off a field. We stopped and got our bearings and one friend said well I will go back and get the UTV and “Bud, you stay here by this wood line so I can see you when I come back.” He left and our other friend went over by the deer to drag it out to the field.
Understand that at this point it was pitch black, although we had flashlights. Suddenly I could not see my friend’s flashlight and I heard a yell: “Bud, bring your muzzleloader.” “It’s back on my four-wheeler.” (Note: he had left his with the UTV and our other friend had taken his with him.) “Grab a rock!” “What?” “Grab a rock!” “What kind of rock?” “A large one.”
About this time, I could hear a lot of commotion coming from the woods. “What is going on?” “Bring a rock, quick!” I found a large rock and went into the woods and when I saw what was going on, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or scream. That deer was not dead, had got up and had come at my buddy and he had grabbed him by the horns. As he wrestled with the deer, I yelled for him to just let it go. “No, I am afraid it will gore me! Hit him in the head!” Well, that was like me trying to swing at a Nolan Ryan fastball.
“Bud, grab his legs, stop him from kicking.” Say what! Well, I did just that. Now my buddy and I are large guys and this deer was giving it his all and the more he kicked the more we held on, both of us afraid of what would happen if we let go. But then I started to lose my grip and suddenly that deer gave one huge kick and caught me in the chest, and I flew backwards. I just laid there, slowly checking for blood and thankful there was none and that, at this point, I was alive. (I believe I still have the scars though ) Meanwhile, my buddy was able to subdue the deer (it had stopped fighting) and he and the deer just laid there.
Our other friend finally returned with the UTV and could barely see flashlights and called out to us but neither of us answered. He said later the whole area looked like a battleground. Our other friend finally answered and said he was ok, just exhausted but fine. “Bud?” No answer. “Bud?” No answer. “Bud?” I was finally able to answer. I was fine but had had the wind knocked out of me. We all got our breath back, loaded the buck and were on our way, hopefully learning some valuable lessons. Yes, this story is true.
A few observations to tie in with what we are going through now. First, you never know how you are going to respond to a situation you are placed in or maybe you put yourself in. We all do dumb things and make mistakes, but we need to be wise and listen and not do dumb things. Jesus says to pray for wisdom and discernment and for the Holy Spirit to guide us. We need to do that now.
Second, let things go. We can have anxiety when we hold on to something for too long and the worries will just take our breathe away and then we panic. Pray for calmness and peace and for the strength to let things go and trust in God. Surrender it all to God. Trust in God.
Finally, life is going to kick us, knock us down but we will persevere. We can learn from it and we can be stronger, and we can grow. The key is to get up, face each day, a step at a time. Sometime even a minute at a time. It is going to be ok and yes; I really believe that!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“Be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)
“Take courage!” Jesus said. It is I! Stop being afraid.” (Mark 6:50)
“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).