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Learning patience from hunting.

(From the Wild Catholic Heart)

I never realized how patient God is until I took my sons and nephews deer hunting this past weekend.  In Ohio, the weekend before Thanksgiving, there is a special youth deer hunting season.  I invited my brother-in-law and his two oldest boys to join me and my three oldest.

The Friday night before the hunt was filled with stories and excitement as we discussed technique, strategy, location, timing and more.  The boys could barely sleep and to be honest neither could I.  I wanted them to get a deer or at least a shot far more than they probably did.

Over the course of the weekend we sat on hillsides and in hunting blinds.  We hunted on the ground and from the trees.  We watched squirrels, turkeys, and deer come and go but nothing within range.

The boys divided up among me, my brother-in-law, my uncle, and my father.  The stories among the adults were mostly the same.  The boys couldn't sit still for very long, they crunched leaves out of boredom, they wanted to run here and there rather than sit patiently and wait for the deer.

I was tempted to be upset with the boys and reprimand them but I didn't want this to be a bad experience for them.  While sitting in one of the blinds with one of my nephews, who was literally dancing in the blind with excitement, a revelation came to me.  I realized that what I was experiencing must be similar to what God experiences with all of us.

Whereas I wanted so much for the boys to get a deer, God wants so much for me to have faith.  Whereas I did all that I could to set them up for the best chance to see and possibly shoot a deer, God causes events to happen in my life that could very much strengthen my faith.  And...whereas the boys were just too wound-up to see a deer or even let it get close, I too am too pre-occupied with the unimportant things to ever get a chance at growing in my faith.

Scripture says, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:11).  It's much easier said than done.  I know that as our hunting tradition continues through the years, the boys will mature and be able to be still, rest, and hunt with patience.  I pray that I too will learn patience and be able to be still and wait for the Lord.  I only hope that He chuckles to Himself now as he sees me fidget on this expedition we call life.


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