It was 10 a.m. when I finally arrived at the Wisconsin public hunting ground, the opening Saturday of the Wisconsin deer gun season. I arrived hours later than I had planned, having gotten lost while driving from Minnesota.
My license allowed me to harvest a buck and a doe; however, I just wanted to harvest some venison for the freezer. I was certainly not going to be picky.
I grabbed my rifle, slung the portable tree stand over my shoulder, and started out on a logging trail. A few yards from where I had parked the vehicle, a man in his 30s, a lady, and a teenager were dragging out a deer.
I said, “You got one huh?” To which the man responded, “A little six-pointer.”
“Congratulations!” I said.
There was about an inch of fresh snow as I made my way about 400 to 500 yards to the part of the forest where I wanted to set up. The previous year, I had scouted the area and liked what I saw.
After putting my tree stand up, I took out my Bible, turned to 1 John, chapter 2, and started working on my sermon.
About 20 minutes passed, and I observed a deer making its way through the brush. Although it was at quite a distance, I caught a glimpse of a rack. I knew he was nice.
The buck paused, and then started angling towards my right. When he got within 60 yards, I took him through the right front shoulder. The 10-pointer dropped in his tracks.
I knelt down and praised the Lord. After field dressing the buck, I hooked up some straps around my waist so I could pull him back to the car.
I had gone a couple hundred yards on the logging road when I saw somebody in blaze orange headed my way. As he came closer and our eyes met, we both realized we had seen each other before. This was the same guy that was dragging out the six-pointer when I arrived.
He said, “Wow! That sure didn’t take long!” He then went on to say, “ I’ve been hunting this forest for five years and have yet to even see anything that big. I would just like to see a buck that big. I wouldn’t even care if I got him.”
He then offered to help by carrying my rifle. I said, “That’s ok. You don’t have to do that. Besides, you want to get back there to hunt!” Nevertheless, he (his name was Dale) insisted.
While I continued dragging the buck, Dale walked alongside with my rifle. As we walked along, I told him about how the Lord allowed me to take a certain record book buck with the longbow the year before. He also found out I was a pastor.
We came to where our vehicles were parked and Dale graciously offered to help me load up the buck. I pulled my van up to the deer. After spreading out a tarp, we swung the buck into the back of the van.
Then, Dale looked down at the ground for a few seconds and, out of the blue, stated, “My mom is a born again Christian.”
I said, “Well Dale, how about you? Have you been born again?” He half shrugged and answered, “I don’t know.”
I thought of how Dale had turned aside from going hunting in order to help me. “Dale, you can know for sure that you are born again.” I went on, “Dale, I believe that I’m an answer to your mother’s prayers. I don’t believe it is by mere accident that we are out here in the woods together.”
I then asked Dale if I could pray for him. I prayed that Dale would know for sure that he was born again. Jesus said, “ . . . I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3). I then gave him a Devotions for Deer Hunters booklet, and the New Testament I had been reading while in the tree stand.
Now I want to ask you, do you think my meeting Dale was by accident? If I had arrived five or 10 minutes earlier, or five or 10 minutes later, we would not have met. I believe a primary reason that the Lord allowed me to shoot that beautiful 10-pointer was for Dale’s sake. Dale knew how quickly I had bagged the buck, and he was impressed with its size. As a result, what I had to say carried significant weight with this fellow hunter.
But how about you? Are you born again? Do you know that if you died today, you would go to heaven? If you have never surrendered your life to Christ, don’t wait any longer.
The Bible says, “. . . now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2b). Don’t put it off until tomorrow!