Outdoor Truths – March 15, 2023
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Struggles bear fruit
I think of all the hunters who are enjoying the spoils of victory right now. They are making some of the best chili or spaghetti sauce with the ground deer from their freezer. Others are slicing the tenderloin for either a breakfast biscuit or an evening meal. And there’s nothing better than a crockpot full of onions and potatoes slow cooking with a venison ham. My mouth is watering as I type.
Not only do we get to enjoy telling the stories of a successful solo harvest, but the results will bring some joyful refreshment for many others and for many months later. Pardon the pun, but I’ve been chewing on this thought for several days now; the thought of how a seemingly devastating defeat or even a death brings about an even greater fruitfulness.
As most of you know, I believe nature is not by accident. I don’t believe God created something without purpose. I believe the Apostle Paul when he said that creation shows us God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power, and his divine nature. That is, creation is a compass that points us to God. Now fast-forward to me and my deer. My deer died, but in dying became the source of joy for many others. And to this I am reminded of so many illustrations in the Bible about things like the crushing of grapes for wine, being crucified with Christ, and even Jesus’ prophecy concerning his crucifixion.
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” (John 12:23-24 NIV)
Some of you are in the prime of your life- not only physically, but spiritually. You have been producing great fruit and it seems that it’s been a long time coming. But recently something has brought all of that to a halt. It seems everything you have worked for, or prayed for, or accomplished, has been crushed, or even put to death. You are not wrong. It has. But not so the rest of your life will be UNfruitful, but so it will be MORE fruitful. And while you can’t see it right now and while it really does feel devastating, just remember, God is the one who is overseeing the process you are going through. He is perfect in his work and in his promises. Again, the Apostle Paul confirmed this.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6 NIV)
■ Gary has written the Outdoor Truths article for 20 years. He has also written four books which include compilations of his articles and a father/son devotional. He also speaks at wild-game dinners and men’s events for churches and associations.