Sam and I headed to the Platte River after school yesterday for our fourth hunt of the season. He chose to sit in the dry channel stand. He had missed a shooter buck at the edge of dark from this stand on Saturday evening and was anxious to get another chance. He knew there was a good chance that the buck would steer clear but felt it was worth a shot. As it turned out he saw no deer at all on this sit. I chose a stand closer to the river. Jesse had seen several deer and passed up a spike from this stand on Saturday. Around 6:00 I saw movement one hundred yards to the west. A deer was walking away. I gasped as he turned toward the north. This was a definite shooter. His bright white rack was glistening in the late afternoon sun. All I could do however, was watch him walk away. He was headed for the river rather than the alfalfa field. A few minutes later I saw a doe east of me. She was feeding in an open section and appeared to be headed my way. As my heart raced anticipating the shot, I watched her closing the distance. And then without warning she turned north and disappeared into the Cedars. I thought she might pass by to the north so I readied for a possible shot. Just then a buck bounded out of the cedars twenty yards away. He put the brakes on and came to a stop at five yards. He was downwind and had his nose in the air. He knew danger was lurking. In spite of my Scent-lock base layers and my scent free spray, this buck knew he smelled danger. For the next five minutes he stood there inspecting the air trying to figure out where the danger was. All the while I stood motionless above him. His dark brown eyes scanned far and wide but never up. So there we each stood in a show down. He trying to find me and me trying to remain undetected. As he stood there I surveyed his antlers. His left main beam had 4 points. Each point was about four inches in length. On the right he carried three points of about the same length. At a year and half old he was a decent seven point buck. But in 3 or 4 years he will be a great buck. In spite of all his efforts this buck just couldn’t find the source of the odor he knew meant danger. Eventually he decided to trust his nose and bounded off into the thick cover of the cedars. I remember a day when I wouldn’t have thought twice about shooting this buck. I would have gladly sent my arrow on its way and proudly placed my tag on his antlers. In recent years I have learned the art of patience in bow hunting. If as archers our goal is to shoot a mature buck, then we must allow young bucks to walk by. My hope is that one day a few years from now this same buck will bound out of the cedars and fall to my arrow. This reminds me of the Christian life. Patience is in fact included in Paul’s list of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5. In Christ we are changed by the Spirit working in and through us. As we mature in Christ we are called to display more and more patience. This patience allows us to walk humbly and obediently with God looking forward to eternal life. Hebrews 12:2 says “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus displayed great patience as he endured the pain and humiliation of the cross in order that he would cleanse us from all sin. Patience in bow hunting can pay off when we place our tag on a mature buck. Patience in life allows us to fix our eyes on Jesus rather than the daily circumstances we might face. And that is a great harvest lesson.