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March 25, 2014

Silent Presence

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been asked by fellow hunters - "have you been out yet" or "do you have one tied up"? By that, they are really asking have I gone listening, riding around looking, and/or scouting in an attempt to pinpoint the roosting location of a gobbler for opening day. And though I have seen numerous flocks of turkeys and some strutting gobblers while travelling to and from work over the past month, I haven't had much of a chance to do any listening and scouting in areas where I can actually hunt. Now there are a few places I can go where the turkeys are showing themselves nearly everyday, too much actually for my comfort and their well-being! But this past Saturday was the first morning that I was able to get to some of my more remote hunting grounds to listen for gobbling. And although Saturday afternoon was really nice, first thing that morning was overcast, windy and a bit cool, which I think had a pretty strong influence on keeping the birds around those parts tight-lipped. In fact, I heard absolutely nothing in the way of gobbling or yelping. It was certainly frustrating to drive over an hour to get to the right spot just prior to daybreak, and then gain no useful intel. Frustrating yes, but ready to ditch that spot for the season, no. And I'll tell why...

Psalm 22:1-5 (NASB)
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

Young or inexperienced hunters may be tempted to put aside or dismiss a spot where they don't hear birds gobbling in the pre-season. But I know too much about this particular location to just throw it to the side in search of a new spot. See, I've been hunting this area for years and know that turkeys live there all year long. In springs past I have been close to quite a few strutters and a few have been harvested. I had flocks of birds filter past me on occasion this past deer season. And even last week, I believe that turkeys likely gobbled there more days than they didn't - I just happened to show up on a morning when they decided to be quiet. Even today, I feel that I could walk into the woods there and without too much trouble find scratching and feathers. I could walk along the field edges and find a dusting spot or two. There is so much evidence and documented history of turkeys being in this spot year after year that I have confidence that they are right in there again this year.

Brothers, how similar is this analogy to the reliable and trustworthy attributes of God? But yet, how often are we quick to believe that He has not heard our cries or has abandoned us when we listen for Him but don't hear His reply. There is too much consistency in how He moves in us, works through us, answers us and delivers us to chalk up one seemingly distant moment to Him somehow abandoning us. Admittedly, the silence of God can be one of life's most frightening experiences. But God's love for us is proven continually consistent and it never fails. If you are doubting His presence or nearness to you right now, think back on how He has always been there for you and come through for you in just the right way at just the right moment. Ask God to help you to understand His ways and grant you peace when you are waiting for His voice. - GE

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