I am not a hunter. I am not even the wife of a hunter. So, imagine my surprise when my husband came to me a little over a year ago and said he wanted to take my son hunting. I wasn’t necessarily opposed to it – honestly, I just thought it would be a “one-time” bonding experience for the two of them. Well, I was wrong. Since that initial trip, they have been numerous times, and while I have never discouraged them from going, I’ve never understood the allure of sitting in the freezing cold, hours on end, waiting for the possibility of an animal to come across its fatal path. It just seemed incredibly boring and quite frankly a waste of time. Then, last weekend, my 12-year-old son asked me to go hunting with him. My initial reaction – no thank you – but then I thought to myself how he is on the brink of soon wanting nothing to do with me. How could I say no?
So, out I went, decked in what I considered to be camouflage (my son would argue that) and my orange hat so that no other hunter would accidently shoot me – asking myself, what in the world had I gotten myself into? However, as I climbed into our tree stand and saw the beauty of God all around, I knew this experience was going to be more about changing me than doing something for my child.
For those of you who have been hunting, you know the importance of being quiet and completely still in the tree stand; for those of you who have not been hunting, it’s the first and most important rule in hunting 101; and for this first-time hunter, not the easiest thing to do. I had to wonder why is it so hard for me to be still – why is it not in my character to quiet myself and enjoy the beauty of nature all around me? Why do I have to be in a constant state of motion? In the tree stand, God kept bringing the familiar words of the psalmist in Psalm 46:10 “be still, and know that I am God.” God certainly had my attention as I reflected on why I don’t put these verses into action more often. I also knew I already had the answer – I am just too busy.
Busyness, as most of us know, is Satan’s tool of choice for our generation. As long as he keeps our bodies and minds scrambling from one event to the next, he knows we won’t experience the extraordinary power, peace and saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:29 to take His “yoke upon us and we will find rest for our souls.” This word rest in the original Greek language is “anapausis,” and it means “cessation of any motion, business or labor; an intermission.” Oh how I long for an intermission in my life, don’t you?! But intermissions must be planned. The lights on the stage must go down and the curtains must close for the intermission to take place. For if it’s not planned, it’s not going to occur. We must plan to have quiet, non-chaotic time with our Savior in order to have our intermissions in life.
If you are a believer, you know God is desperately in love with you, but did you know He is even more desperate to spend time with you? The prophet Zephaniah tells us “the Lord your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love (3:17).” The New American Standard Bible translates the end of this verse as “He will be quiet in His love.” How many times have I missed out on my Lord’s presence and affection because I’m not allowing Him to make His way into my noisy life? As a child saved by the King’s one and only Son, I owe Him more than that, much more.
As we begin a new year, I challenge myself and I challenge you to not only recognize this insurmountable love God wants to bestow upon us, but to reciprocate in its offering through our time with Him. May each of us create our own “tree stand” in our daily walk with our Lord and give exaltation, not to ourselves and our schedules, but to the precious name of our Savior.
Until next week, it is in His extraordinary midst and love that I leave you… Katie