A bloody arrow in the quiver typically signifies success. A shaft coated in crimson is what us bowhunters long to see. It’s the tell-tale sign that our arrow found its mark and we’re just a recovery effort away from our trophy. This past fall I shot one of my prettiest bucks to date. The shot was close…just the kind I like…and my arrow smacked home. The buck ran just 75 yards before tipping over. After the usual high-fives and slaps on the back from friends, we took some photos and then back-tracked to the shot scene to try to find my arrow. When one of my hunting buddies recovered the arrow and brought it to me, I quickly saw that the single-digit temperatures had frozen the blood to the shaft from nock to tip. The once black shaft was now a beautiful, bright red shaft…covered in crimson! I was proud of what that bloody arrow shaft represented…a great buck at the end of an exciting hunt with friends.
But that shaft also meant a whole lot more to me as well. Not only was I proud of what God allowed me to be a part of on that cold November morning, but I was also proud of the fact that, much like that blood-soaked shaft, I too had been covered by the blood of God’s son, Jesus. Through His death on the cross, Jesus’ blood covered me…and covered me completely. The darkness of my sin had been covered in crimson because of the sacrifice that took place at the cross.
Consider these passages…
1 John 1:7 – “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”
Revelation 1:5b – “All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us.”
As graphic and gruesome as the death of Christ was, it was and is a beautiful thing. I thank God for the blood of Christ that was spilled out for me!
Are you covered by the blood?
I remember a hunt from a few years back, when I videoed a young buddy of mine shoot a deer with his bow one evening in the final moments of shooting light. We knew the shot looked good, and there was no doubt that we’d find the deer. After we gave it a few minutes for nerves to settle and for things in the woods to calm down, we climbed down from our stands and made our way over to find his arrow. It was that awkward time of day when everything seems to be a blur. Last light…just before being swallowed by darkness. As my buddy anxiously searched for his arrow and the beginning of a blood trail in the fading light, I said, “Let’s just wait a few minutes until it’s good and dark, then it’ll be easier to find the trail.” My buddy had somewhat of a puzzled look on his face not understanding how it would be easier to see once it was dark. However, a few minutes later, when we were covered up with the black of night, I flipped on my light and the woods seemed to light up. Only moments ago, we struggled to see at all, now the light penetrated the darkness and made it easy to see the blood trail that led to my friend’s trophy.
Few people like darkness. It’s a spooky place to be. Without a light, no campfire, nothing to light your path…darkness can be scary. And in a culture that appears to be growing increasingly darker and more evil by the day, the journey of life tends to be uncertain and somewhat scary at times as well.
It’s in tough days like these that I find myself thanking God that He is a light for us to illuminate the darkness around us. 2 Samuel 22:29 says, “O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness.”
The reality is God seems to shine the brightest in the midst of darkness. Unfortunately, we tend to seek and acknowledge His presence only in the midst of crisis. When we need healing…money…a new job…or rescue from tragedy. How disappointing it must be to God when we use Him like a spare tire. We want him and need Him when we are in an emergency, but when we get through the crisis and back on the road we stuff Him back in the trunk until the next issue arises.
Listen, God wants to shine in our lives…regardless of the day…no matter the circumstances. Whether it’s the simple decisions of our day, or a tsunami that seems to shake the world….God wants to shine and show Himself strong in our lives.
Are we living a life that reflects the glory and greatness of God?
Whether watching the day unfold from a treestand, or from the back porch at the house, I’m often reminded of a Mossy Oak commercial on TV where Mossy Oak owner, Toxey Haas, says, “I figure God only gave us so many sunrises...I don’t want to miss one.” How true that statement is! There is something spectacular about watching the sun rise. I love those moments in the treestand or ground blind when I am able to experience the start of another day. There is a sacred silence that seems to be present just before life in the woods begins to stir once again. As dawn approaches, the woods slowly come to life with the sights and sounds that continue to draw us back season after season. But there’s something about experiencing a sunrise that is simply amazing. To witness God’s hand at work as He orchestrates the beginning of a new day and the rising of the sun is something I just don’t want to miss.
I often wonder how a person can watch the sun rise in the morning and not know there is a Creator. Some will say, “I don’t believe in a God.” However, the creation around us not only testifies that there is in fact a God, but the majestic beauty that surrounds us also declares His awesome power. What we see, hear, and experience on our adventures in the outdoors leaves us without excuse for not knowing there is a God. In fact, the Bible speaks of this very thing in Romans 1:20. It says, “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
As sportsmen we ought to know this truth as well as anyone! You just can’t live the hunting and outdoor lifestyle and not give credit to the Creator. It’s foolish! “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
We are in fact given only so many sunrises. Our days here on earth are numbered. I sure don’t want to be guilty of wasting one! Hey, the next time you watch that sun ease up on an early morning, don’t be fooled into thinking, “It just happens.” You better know, it’s the hand of a mighty God at work when the day unfolds and the sun begins to rise once again.
In His Tracks
The memories of my first hunting trip with my dad are as vivid in my mind today as ever before. I was just nine years old when my dad introduced me to the world of hunting on a cool, fall morning in Tennessee. I can recall like it was yesterday, my feeble attempt to keep up with his pace while hiking through the woods. I remember trying to stretch my stride as far as I could in an effort to place my boots in the tracks my dad had made. As I grew older…and wiser…I realized how following my father as a child was simply an earthly example of how I was to follow in the tracks of my heavenly Father. Although I asked God to save me as young child, I later faced years of stepping away from the tracks God was making before me. There were no wild and reckless years of drug and alcohol addictions and run-ins with the law. The fix I was after involved getting into wild places and pursuing wild critters one on one. The thrill of the hunt!
How could anything as pure and wholesome as the sport of hunting be harmful? The problem came in the fact that I had allowed hunting to become a god to me. It was what my heart sought after.
“And he did evil because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.” – 2 Chr. 12:14.
Brodie Swisher is a World Champion game caller, accomplished speaker, a notable writer, a skilled hunter, and all around down to earth guy! His travels take him across the country as a well known public speaker in the arena of outdoor events such as wildgame dinners, banquests, archery classes, and filming. Above all Brodie Swisher loves Jesus and he can't wait to share his passion for Christ with those he meets.