My son Adam is passionate about hunting. He did not get that love from me. I find it cruel to stalk a deer or elk by hiding in trees or brush while baiting them with mimicking animal calls.
"You have a distinct advantage," I tell him. "If the animals had cameras and binoculars and a bow and arrow, things would be equal, but this way it's not fair."
Fair or not, from this particular story I was reminded that God can be involved even in things of which I disapprove.
First, a little background. Mike is Adam's camera man for Buck Commander, a Christian-based organization which films and sells DVDs from their deer/elk adventures. When "the season" begins, Mike moves to Fort Scott and follows Adam's hunts.
On their last trip to Colorado, 11,000 feet above sea level, they met with their guide, M.P., who showed them the terrain and explained they could kill only one elk, no more.
Adam's shot, taken right before twilight, wasn't fatal. He watched the elk scurry downhill but realized it would take overnight for the elk to die. (At this point I told Adam I didn't care to hear the rest of the story. He insisted I did.)
The three hunters returned to their cabin and discussed how they would split up in the morning to find the bull. It rained that night, so there would be no blood to track. Chances were, they would never find that elk. (Trust me, I was not rooting for the hunters.)
Early the next day, Mike, M.P. and Adam drove to their central meeting point. Knowing an injured animal will go downhill to find the nearest water hole, they journeyed in three different areas, all moving down the mountain.
At that point of the story, Adam told me I needed to talk to Mike to hear how God had helped on the hunt. I was skeptical, but Mike was one who knew about miracles. After all, he had previously been a passenger in two rollover wrecks, one in which the paramedics said they had never seen a vehicle so badly damaged without a death. Right before they crashed, Mike heard the Holy Spirit warn him to brace himself. He did, while also throwing his left arm in front of the driver's face, saving his life, as well.
I drove to Adam's ranch to hear Mike's version of the story.
"I started off downhill, asking for the Holy Spirit to guide me to find this bull. Human nature takes us downhill, but the Bible teaches us to be still and 'know that I am God.' I decided to wait patiently to hear from Him. For the next hour God made it clear I was to go uphill. Every so often I would stop and argue, knowing injured animals never go that direction, but it's never a good idea to argue with God. Sure enough, I was led to the top of the hill. I looked to the left and saw nothing, but when I looked to the right, about 25 yards away, I saw the bull in the middle of some trees."
"I know this was a miracle. We at Buck Commander pray before hunts, that they be safe and that we enjoy God's creation, and this was definitely a touch from Him."
Mike continued. He backed away, picked up a shed antler on the way downhill and stuck it in the ground in order to retrace his steps. Time was critical.
He sprinted back to where the three hunters separated. Mike said it was another answer to prayer when Adam and M.P. were waiting there instead of continuing their tracking.
On the return uphill, he tried to find the path on his own, couldn't, stopped again to ask God for help and was led right to the elk. The guide said it was impossible they had found this animal.
Mike disagrees. He knows that with God all things are possible and he gives God the glory for every hunt, good or bad.
Adam was right. I did need to hear the rest of the story.
That being said, I'm still rooting for the animals.