Fortunately, deer, turkey, and similar big game species were reintroduced in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Thereafter, as a result of well-managed hunting seasons, hunter education programs, and similar practices, their numbers have steadily increased over the last three quarters of a century.
For these reasons, by the late 1970s, I was able to take up hunting and fishing in my late teens. Thereafter, I was also able to raise my sons to enjoy these activities. Best of all, I now have the opportunity to help raise my grandsons to enjoy the great outdoors in a responsible manner as well. Besides, as the bumper sticker aptly puts it, “Boys who like to hunt and fish don’t grow up to mug old ladies!”
As I write this, it is turkey season here in Tennessee. Accordingly, my youngest son is currently on a mission to harvest a prime strutting Tom. Early one morning this past week, he and his wife’s cousin recently went down to his wife’s grandfather’s farm for this very purpose.
Once on site, they set up, put out a “Jake” decoy, and began calling. In short order, off in the distance, a gobbler sounded off. Excited, they continued to call; and the old Tom continued to respond in kind. But for whatever reason, defying all hunting wisdom, he would not come to them.
Undeterred, they pulled up stakes, and went over to the base of a ridge where they could try once again. Sure enough, as soon as they began clucking, the Tom once again gobbled. This standoff went on for another ten to fifteen minutes. But yet again, the Tom did not budge.
My son then told his hunting partner that he was going to slip up to the top of the ridge and see if he could coax the old gobbler down the slope. He then took several minutes surreptitiously making his way up the ridge to where he could hopefully glimpse his prey.
As his partner continued to call, and as the gobbler continued to respond, my son ascended the hill. When he finally got to the top, he quickly realized that he was on the edge of the property where the woods gave way to a neighbor’s field. Some one hundred or so yards beyond was a barn on the adjacent owner’s property. And what do you suppose was attached to the back of that barn?
You guessed it - a pen in which there was a tame Gobbler! Needless to say, it was worked up into a frenzy of excitement as it was desperately looking for a way out of the pen in order to undertake a romantic tryst just up and over the hill! At that point, the sound of the Tom’s gobbling was drowned out by the voluminous laughter of my son!
As he related this episode to me, I could not help but think how lucky that old Tom was. Whether it realized it or not, that obstacle (in this case, a fence) had in fact saved its life! And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this old Tom was a picture of me.
When King Odysseus left Troy at the end of the Trojan War (as chronicled by the ancient Greek poet Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey), he took ten years to journey back home to Ithaca. Along the way, he and his men had to pass by the island of the “Sirens”, in which they had to endure and overcome the “Siren’s call” to put in, be seduced, and ultimately be overcome.
How many times in my own life have I heard the so-called “siren call” of some dangerous temptation? And thankfully, how many times have I been prevented from answering such calls by some God-ordained barrier?!
In truth, no matter how frustrating it may have been at the time, the fencing of its pen saved that old Tom’s life. In like manner, there have been many times in my life when the barriers God placed in my life may have initially seemed a bit exasperating; but in the long run, they proved to be in my best interest.
And I am not alone. In the New Testament Book of Acts (chapter 26, verses 6-10) we read:
6After the Holy Spirit had prevented them from speaking the word in the province of Asia, they traveled through the region of Phrygia and Galatia. 7And when they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not permit them. 8So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas.
9During the night, Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10As soon as Paul had seen the vision, we got ready to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11We sailed from Troas straight to Samothrace, and the following day on to Neapolis. 12From there we went to the Roman colony of Philippi, the leading city of that district of Macedonia.
Clearly, here is a classic example of God throwing up a barrier in order to prevent His servant from making a mistake! The result? Not only the rest of the book of Acts, but also Paul’s ministry itself! It was destined to go from Bithynia to such places as Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica, and eventually, even the capital of Greece, Athens. No doubt all of these steps then led to Paul’s inevitable trip to the capital of the Empire, Rome itself!
It is interesting to note that the Biblical city of Troas is, in fact, the very same place as the ancient city of Troy. From here, just like his predecessor Odysseus, Paul began a journey in which he would have to decide which direction was truly prudent, and which was not. But unlike Odysseus, for Paul, more than mere history was at stake. For him, and for his decisions, eternity was at stake!
How about you? Have you ever experienced a barrier obviously placed before you by God Himself? If so, then rejoice! For, in the end, if He placed it there, it was inevitably done so for your benefit. As well as for the benefit countless others whom you are destined to encounter and influence!
Even a bird brain should see that!
SEE ALSO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odyssey.