This last week I went hunting with my dad, dad-in-law, and brother in South Texas. I have never been much of a hunter, but it was a great way to spend time with my family along with some other friends. So Lauren and I drove down to the hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere, and while she stayed back at the lodge with the other women folk, including both my mom and her mom, I went out before dawn every morning to shoot and kill poor defenseless animals.
I decided to go all in this time. I didn’t want to hold back. I have been hunting before but for whatever reason (most likely just because I was an emo punk), I had never really given it my full effort. As a result, I walked away from the week a mighty hunter. Four shots. Four kills. A doe, a javelina, a feral pig, and last but not least, an 11 point buck! It was a very successful week of hunting for me, and I must admit, I really enjoyed myself and can’t wait to go again.
I am excited about hunting and I wanted to share a little about this last week. But that’s not really why I’m writing this post. For those who are unfamiliar with deer hunting in South Texas, it is an interesting process that needs explaining. South Texas is not covered in trees like Central Texas, nor is it a vast wasteland of dirt like West Texas. South Texas is covered in thick, nasty brush. Because of this, the only way to hunt deer down there is to get up in these deer blinds about 15 to 20 ft. in the air and carve out paths in the brush called saderos. To help attract the deer out of the brush, the ranch had corn distributors about 100 yards away from the blind, along with laying down corn on the saderos right before the hunt begins. Sure enough, after that corn is down and the sun begins to come up, deer trot out of the safety of the thick brush into plain sight and in range of the hunter. The rest you can imagine.
As I saw how the process worked down there, I’m not even sure if I could call what I was doing ‘hunting’. There was no ‘hunt’ involved. It would have been more appropriately called ‘trapping’, or something like that. The deer were offered better food in a place free of thistles and other sharp branches poking at them, no work involved at all for them, with absolutely no clue that I was waiting in a camouflaged box 20 ft. in the air with a Winchester 7 mm Magnum aimed directly at their chest.
While I was sitting in the deer blind just before dawn Tuesday morning, a strange thought came into my mind. I often times feel like the deer. I am put on this world driven by an overwhelming desire to survive and when an easier way to survive is offered to me, I often take it completely oblivious to the devil who has me directly in his sights, gun cocked and aimed to take me out. When it comes to sin, I often times feel like one of the deer led treacherously to the feeder, only to find himself shot and dying on the ground before he even knows what happened.
It was kind of a dark thought. But it was necessary. Although this may be a strange way to kick off the new year on this blog, I find it unremarkably appropriate. There is a hunter waiting to trap us at every moment of our life and like the deer, there is no real match. I have a better understanding of the misery Jesus felt as he looked at his people in the midst of their sin and called them sheep led to the slaughter. That’s the kind of world we live in. It is a world where, without Christ, sin begins with the upper hand before we even begin to fight. There is no war against sin apart from Christ, because a war implies the ability to defend ourselves. This world is being slaughtered by the devil every minute of every day and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
It was a sobering moment. Sitting silently in the deer blind that morning, staring through my scope at the deer, I realized I had a similar target on my back, that I was just as exposed.
As this year begins I am reminded that my only hope to survive the carnage around the feeders of temptations is constant, humble, and desperate prayer. I am no match for the ruler of this world. But Christ is. He has already conquered and in him we have freedom from the slavery to sin.
So I welcome 2011 with a high hope and a heavy heart knowing that there is a target on my back and only one Savior I can cling to.