Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Game (12/06/12)
TITLE: The Hunter and His Game
By Mary Annthipie Bane
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Each fall he sets out, says goodbye to his family and walks with long strides into the woods. With a rifle in his hands and a hope in his heart that this season he will be successful, he is on the hunt. It is deer season and there have been several large bucks spotted nearby his rural home. While he walked through the woods to his tree stand he noticed that most of the leaves had already fallen. Although he walked quietly, the fallen foliage crushed beneath his feet, an alert to any nearby animal.
He arrived to his hunting ground and climbed the ladder to the platform that would serve as his vantage point. The sun was beginning to rise as the dark sky began to swirl with traces of purple and pink. He breathed in the earthy scents of moss, pine needles and morning dew. The lines from a favorite hymn began to drift into his mind, “like the fragrance after the rain.”
He was appreciating the freshness and the possibilities that the new day would bring. His breath formed into tiny clouds as he exhaled, the biting cold bringing his eyes to tear. Overhead a flock of geese were in formation to fly south for the winter. It looks like we’re in for a long, cold winter he thought to himself and settled into his place. He looked on as small animals were scurrying about. The squirrels were gathering acorns. A fox was digging into its den. In a nearby tree an owl returned home from a night of hunting as well with a rodent in his beak. Contemplating the beauty that contrasts with the drama being played out before him he considered his part in the game of life. Man or beast, from the greatest down to the least, all were here to prepare themselves and to provide for the cold winter months ahead.
The hunter, a kind and hard working man was the sole support for his family. Not a killer by nature but a provider, he thought about the ways that God had provided for these woodland animals and how God provides continuously for him. It is good for a man to get alone in the woods, feel the Lord’s presence in His creation he thought; otherwise he might forget who the true provider is and begin to think too highly of himself.
The hunter closed his eyes and sent up a silent prayer for a successful hunt, not to inflict harm or to destroy but to participate in the circle of life that had begun with Adam and Eve since the fall of man. He didn’t know how long he had been praying. His mind moved from conscious prayer which brought his requests to a serene mindset focused solely on God. One thought permeated his mind as he focused on favorite verses from scripture—gratitude. He felt a deep and sincere gratitude for the life he had been given, the blessings of a family and the beauty of the woods. Most importantly he was grateful for the gift of a Savior.
He opened his eyes and was brought back to the present by a soft and breathy sound and a pawing at the ground. Standing before him was a magnificent buck displaying his antlers with pride and dignity. Their eyes met and for a moment in silent commune they gazed at each other. With a raised rifle the hunter deliberately and cautiously took aim and his shot was fired. The deer ran a few steps, fell down to the ground and offered his life to the eternal. The hunter knelt alongside the deer and said a prayer of thanksgiving to God and blessed the animal's spirit for its sacrifice. “If it is pleasing to you Lord I offer thanks and praise” he whispered, acknowledging the deer as one of God’s creations. He rose and carefully lifted the game up in his arms.
Relief filled his heart and his thoughts turned towards home. As he walked he remembered how God had provided the ram for Abraham. He thought about the way that God had instructed His people on how to prepare their burnt offerings until the time when God provided His sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, that our sins may be forgiven. With the blessings of God’s physical and spiritual provisions, the hunter and his game turned towards home.
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