I spend a lot of time hunting and fishing by myself. Sometimes I experience something truly spectacular and wonder, “what would it be like to spend all of my time here? Could I pause time and just soak in the beauty of this one moment?” For example, not too long ago during bow season, I saw a beautiful bird that I hadn’t noticed in all the time I’ve spent in the woods. It had a red backed head, golden under belly and under wings marked with black speckles, as well as black streaks under its eyes like a football player. Or later in the season when I saw 5 gobblers strutting in mid-December snow. It was the first time I had ever seen turkeys strut in the winter time, let alone in the snow. This was my first season attempting to film hunts, and I was so excited to have documented something I had never seen before. I was so excited that I must have bumped the record button twice in the shivering chill of that December morning, and turned off the recording. I sat there watching those gobblers in the glow of the mid-morning sunshine, in full strut for 15 minutes, and then once the time passed they were gone on their way.
In the scope of hunting and fishing, we are told that it takes time to develop and hone skills to pursue game. Hours are spent in the tree stand observing and learning how to convince a weary doe that her eyes have fooled her, and that you are part of the tree she sensed movement in. Each cast, missed hookset, and fish lost at the net heighten the senses of the fly fisherman in search of fooling the next trout. It’s just not possible for someone to tell you all there is to know about hunting before going into the woods for the first time. Sometimes you must fail at sneaking up on 50 squirrels through dry leaves to learn that it would serve you better to just sit still and wait on a good, unsuspecting opportunity. I feel like I could go on for hours about things I have learned about God’s creation by just being present and spending time in it.
How can this concept apply to our faith? Well, how else do we learn more about God? How do we get more comfortable holding faith conversations? How do we experience God’s infinite grace? We spend time. Time holding faith conversations, reading God’s Word, and simply talking to God in prayer.
I challenge you, as I have been challenged myself, to spend more time in God’s presence. Spending time in His perfect creation is amazing, and only a part of His infinite glory. Over the past couple years, I have spent increasingly more time listening to teaching, more time in the Word, and more time in prayer. Just like spending time in the woods, spending more time in God’s presence makes me wonder why I didn’t before. I once listened to Francis Chan speak about prayer, and he made a fantastic point. We sometimes forget that we have COMPLETE ACCESS TO THE CREATOR OF THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE through accepting Jesus and through prayer. When prayer and reading the Word become an obligation, we forget the weight of it. What should we desire more than to spend time talking with God? I encourage you all to join me on this journey to spend more time with the Creator and in his creation.
“the Lord appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7: 12-14
Here we see God himself telling Solomon that heard his prayers! It’s an amazing feeling to be reassured that God himself hears our prayers and now that Jesus has come, our sins have been atoned and there is no more need for sacrifices like the days of Solomon. But we can still see some awe-inspiring characteristics of God in this passage that applies to our subject of ‘time’. God says to Solomon that if his people would spend time in prayer and time seeking God’s face when dealing with trial and suffering, then he will hear them! Just as in the days of Solomon, when we spend time in prayer and seek his face, he will hear us! I encourage you to reflect on this scripture and see that God has untamable power, and he loves us so much that he continually offers us a way to cover our sins through the perfect sacrifice of his only son Jesus. And that my friends, is the most important thing we could possibly spend our ‘time’ on.