Herald Journal Columns
Oct. 31, 2005, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

The antlered doe

By Dr. Tom Rakow, Pastor, Grace Bible Church,
Silver Lake

Where I grew up, deer hunting was, and still is, an important part of the culture.

Each year, a person from the local newspaper would walk over to the police station, where many deer were brought to be registered. This same individual would then take a picture of someone who brought in a nice buck and include it in an article about that year’s hunt.

In 1971, at the age of 14, a photo of me standing next to a deer that had one antler ended up on the paper’s front page. At first glance, It would simply appear that some young fellow bagged a buck that had half a rack. Nevertheless, things aren’t always as they appear.

The caption below the photo stated, “Tom Rakow, a young hunter, registered this antlered doe at the police station last week. One of the antlers had been broken off, and the one remaining was still in velvet.”

Indeed, things aren’t always as they appear. Although the reporter who had come to the police station and taken the picture stated that one antler had been broken off, this was not completely true. Actually, the doe had only grown the one velvet-covered fork.

In addition, by looking at the photo in the paper, it would seem reasonable to assume that the person next to the pickup truck’s end gate, with his hand on the deer’s neck, was the one who had harvested this whitetail oddity.

However, again, things are not always as they appear. While it was true that it was my tag on the deer’s leg, my dad was really the one who had bagged this pseudo buck.

When you come to think of it, there are a lot of things in this world that aren’t always as they appear. Take, for example, the person who outwardly looks like they have everything (money, fame, looks, etc.). More often than not, this same individual is inwardly empty and privately miserable.

Then, there is the criminal caught red-handed, but who gets off the hook due to some minor legal technicality. From a strictly human viewpoint, it appears the criminal has gotten away with it. But again, things aren’t always as they appear.

According to the Bible, “There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Luke 8:17).

As the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Galatians 6:7).

1 am reminded of a thief I heard about on the East Coast who burglarized a house. For all practical purposes, it appeared that it was a clean get-away.

Except, that is, for one telling mistake. When he backed out of the driveway, he backed into a snowbank. He drove away, but left the imprint of his license in the snow. The license plate was traced down – and he was locked up. Yes, this crook learned the hard way that things aren’t always as they appear.

The Bible makes it clear that not everyone who professes to know Christ, truly does. Jesus not only warned of false prophets who would appear to be one thing, but were really another (see Matthew 7:15). He also stated, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21).

In fact, Jesus went on to say, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22-23)

You see, the Lord sees things as they are, not merely as they appear. The good news is that God knows if we belong to Him. As Paul told a young preacher named Timothy, “’The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness’” (2 Timothy 2:19).

All who know Christ have something wonderful to look forward to. John stated, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known, But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1John 3:2).

Friend, when it comes to the things of God, we can know with great certainty that they shall come to pass just as the Lord has stated.

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