Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Be Alert

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I climbed into my stand twenty feet above a grass field about 10 minutes before first light.  As I was attaching my harness, I heard what I thought was a deer about to walk right under me.   As the mysterious sound came closer I readied myself for a possible shot.  It was still three minutes early, however.  Maybe the deer would come in slowly enough to allow me to shoot just after legal shooting time.  As I continued to wait, I finally saw the creature making all the noise.  A raccoon was coming in.  I don’t have a fur bearers permit so I just enjoyed the show as it walked under my stand completely oblivious to my presence.  Soon all was quiet again.  In the early morning darkness I settled in for the morning sit.  

I was sitting on the South edge of a grass field.  The deer use this edge as they travel from corn fields east of me to their bedding areas on the west.   I last sat here about 10 days ago.  On that particular morning a spike buck walked by me at twenty yards.  He too was in no danger from me and walked by without ever knowing of my presence.  I saw several other deer that morning but none were within range of my Hoyt.

Soon, I heard it again.  Something was coming in through the trees behind me.  I turned to prepare for the shot and again saw a familiar masked ring tail under my stand.  He slowly crept by my stand at ease without any worry of the possible danger from above.  As I watched him walk off I noticed movement on the field.  A doe was slowly making her way along the field edge.  If she continued on this trail she would soon be within twenty yards of my stand.  I placed my release on the string and mentally prepared for the shot.

I drew my bow at twenty-five yards and hoped she would pause before walking behind a large tree directly in front of me.  I quickly realized that she wasn’t going to stop. While at full draw, I bleated once which caused her to stop immediately a mere twenty yards from my stand.  In an instant, she had gone from simply walking a trail to standing alert with eyes and ears locked onto my position.  My pin quickly settled just behind her left front shoulder.  I touched the release sending my arrow towards its mark.  I watched in disbelief as my arrow sailed exactly where I had aimed yet flew harmlessly just over her back and buried in the dirt behind her.  In an instant this doe had ducked under the path of my arrow.  How is that possible?  In less than the time it takes to blink an eye this doe had dropped nearly a full body width.  

As my arrow slammed into the dirt behind her, she ran off about sixty yards, stopped, and looked back.  I soon noticed another deer coming.  Her fawn was on the same trail and had no idea what had happened.  Soon, the fawn was standing at twenty yards directly in front of my arrow.  Like the raccoons before her, she had no idea that danger was lurking twenty feet above her.  She bleated a few times and walked off to join her mother as they both disappeared into the woods leaving me with only my bruised ego and dull blades on my Rocket broadheads.

Only an occasional squirrel or bird broke the silence over the next three hours.  This gave me plenty of time to contemplate what had happened.  I know to shoot low on an alert deer. Yet, I had not considered this before touching off the release.  The doe’s ability to stay alert and her lightning quick reflexes had spared her life.   As I sat there thinking about this, I was reminded of a passage of scripture.

Be self‑controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 1 Peter 5:8-9

As believers, we have an adversary who wants nothing more than to take us down.  Very often we drop our guard and get ourselves into a dangerous situation.  We in a sense are walking along the trail of life completely oblivious to the danger lurking above us.  We often allow ourselves to walk right into the devil’s trap of sin and temptation.  Here’s the good news.  We don’t have to rely on our ability to spot the danger above or our own lightning quick reflexes to duck the enemies arrow.  We simply trust in the gospel message of Salvation.  Christ died to wash us clean.  He has won the victory over death and Satan.  We prepare our hearts for victory as we spend time with God in his word and through prayer.  We find strength in numbers as we spend time with God’s people, the Church.  A deer can duck an arrow but You and I carry a shield of faith with which we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16)  Stay alert, resist the devil and the temptation all around us and know that in Christ we are washed forever clean.

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