When the sun finally set on this weekend, the 20/21 waterfowl season came to a close. For many, it's been a 60-day grind, full of all the highs and lows that come with chasing ducks and geese across the country. There's been good days, and there's been bad days. There have been days when the ducks played the game right, as well as days when we came out empty handed.
But ask most any duck hunter, and they'll tell you, the best days typically come at the very end. They grind it out throughout the season knowing, the best is yet to come. The season may be tough, full of long days that we'd rather forget, but we rest in the fact that a better day is coming. We saw it this weekend as a duck blind full of kids shot their limit of ducks, putting the wraps on a long, tough season.
Life is much the same way. There will be times when it seems like we stay stuck in the struggle of life. There are times when the tough days seem to far outweigh the number of good days. The trials of this life are part of the journey. But even in the midst of the trials, we can find joy knowing that a better day is coming for those who have their hope in Jesus.
In the Bible, 1 Peter 1:6-7 says it best - "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
Wonderful joy lies ahead! So be glad, in the good days and bad, knowing a better day is on the way.
I was squirrel hunting around the lake with my son, Rembo, this past season when we got into a little discussion on his ability to do things for himself. We made a stealthy approach into squirrel country by kayak earlier in the morning and killed a few squirrels along the lake before making plans to head back to camp for breakfast. As we made our way back down to the kayak, Rembo shared with me that he felt like he needed to sit in the captain's chair and run the boat back to camp as opposed to sitting in the back of the yak on a bucket. He was hungry and tired of walking, and he let his frustration get the best of him. "I don't want to sit on the bucket!" he said as we started to load gear into the boat. It was a classic struggle for power. It wasn't his first attempt to be the boss, and certainly hasn't been his last.
We had a stand-off as I took my seat in the boat, and he stood his ground on the bank. The words of the song sung by my red-headed friends, Katy and Penny of The Purple Hulls, came to mind. The chorus of the song goes, "If you can't walk on water, you better get in the boat!"
So that's what I told Rembo as he stood there on the bank...
If you can't walk on water - you better get in the boat!
I laugh at the memory now, but I also know that I'm really not that much different in my relationship with God. Far too often, I struggle with trying to push God off the throne and take the place as boss.
It never works.
He's the boss. He's on the throne. And he won't share the spot.
We can do it our way, or God's way.
But sooner or later, we'll learn the priceless lesson, if you can't walk on water, you better get in the boat.
Check out the song from my friends below....
Deer season is wrapping up across most of the country, leaving behind another year of memories, and hopefully, a freezer full of meat. For many hunters, it's been the best deer season yet. However, for others, a pocket full of unpunched tags remain.
Which side were you on? Is there meat in the freezer or will you be buying beef over the off-season?
More importantly, have you learned to find the good in the midst of the lows of a long and seemingly unproductive hunting season?
Have you ever noticed how quick we are to say, God is Good, when we're posting a big buck photo? But what about when you come out of the woods empty-handed? What about when there's no buck in the back of the truck? Is God still good then?
Regardless of the number of bucks that walk past our stand, or the ducks that drop into our decoys, God is still good.
His goodness isn't dependent on the circumstances around us. Unpunched tags, struggles at home, loss of a job, or the man our country chooses to lead the nation - they make no difference in the goodness of God.
God's still good.
These are the words my friend, Kami McGann, has continued to say after each negative doctor's report she's received over the last year as she's battled cancer. She's heard everything from, "The cancer is spreading," to "We've run out of options." Her response - God's still good.
Do we have this same mindset? Regardless of the doctor's report, or a buck in the back of the truck - God's still good.
Despite all the hate the 2020 year has received, I honestly look back and see some of the greatest times of growth my family has ever experienced together. We've had the opportunity to spend more time together than ever before. And while some may complain about "being stuck" at home with family, I consider it a win.
Sure, it's been a tough year. The trials seemed to outweigh the triumph at times. But it's been a year that's found us digging back to our roots to see if our faith is as solid as we've always claimed. Tough times are a testing process that will quickly reveal what we really believe.
Looking past the process, and ahead to the new year, I'm glad God is faithful to give us a fresh start. A new year, as well as each new day, delivers a chance for a new beginning with fresh opportunities. I kicked off my first morning of the new year with the Bible in my hand, starting back at the beginning. I love the first 4 words we find there - "In the beginning, God..."
Everything starts with those 4 words. It was true then, and it's still true today.
My aim for 2021 is to see that every new beginning starts with God. I pray the same for you and your crew as we move on to new things in 2021.