Long before daylight the man and his son had parked close to the road and had quietly locked the car. Rifles were loaded and flimsy hunter-orange vests were donned over the heavier coats blocking the cold winds of autumn in the Ozarks. Ball caps were swapped for hunter-orange hats designed to make them more easily visible to other hunters they might encounter in their morning quest for venison.
Ever so quietly they ghosted down familiar trails to the place they were certain the deer would be crossing that first day of the season.
Knowing it was the better spot, the man left his son sitting by the tree overlooking a well-used game trail while he went a little farther and took up his own vigil at the foot of another forest giant.
The darkness was so impenetrable he couldn't even see his hand as he passed it in front of his eyes. But he knew where he was and felt secure in the Presence of the Lord, even in the woods, even in the darkness as he and the boy patiently waited for the soft light of morning.
As the day dawned and night's heavy gloom dissipated the man slowly swiveled his head from side to side looking for the deer that was certain to come down such an obviously well-traveled trail.
To his horror, he counted six other patches of hunter-orange dotted around the area. That meant there were six other rifles besides his and his son's loaded and ready to blaze away at any deer foolish enough to travel that trail on deer season's opening day.
Cautiously, he slowly rose to his feet and eased back up the trail to where his son was sitting. He motioned for the boy to follow as he made his way back to the car, somewhat relieved the deer had not come down that trail on that particular day. What a dangerous situation he had accidentally gotten himself and his son into! Who could have known that so many other hunters would have chosen the same spot for opening day? And who could have predicted that each would choose a different path to that same patch of woods so that none knew the others were there?
One must wonder how many similar situations we encounter during our lives and we never know it. We thoughtlessly go our way day after day putting ourselves at great risk without ever realizing God was watching over us.
How marvelous that He dispatches His angels to watch over us even in times when we feel we don't need assistance.
"For He shall give His angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands lest thou dash thy foot against a stone!" Psalm 91:11&12
Richard Orrell, pastor