Hand of the Man
by Brodie Swisher
On a recent afternoon, my son, Aidan, and I made our way through the woods as we headed to a ground blind for an evening of hushed excitement in deer country. I figured it would be the perfect spot for us to share a little man-time together and hopefully punch a deer tag. Despite not really knowing where we were going, Aidan did his best to lead the way on the hike in to our spot. Bold and confident, he walked ahead of me in an effort to be the first to find the ground blind.
It was good to be back in the woods with my son. It was his first hunt of the year and while the encounters with deer were slim, we enjoyed cuttin’ up, eating snacks, and making memories. At one point, as the sun began to sink toward the mountaintop, we heard the sound of crashing and thrashing in the brush behind us. The sounds of a rutting bull moose brought a smile to my face…and panic, fear, and dread to Aidan’s. He covered his ears doing his best to drown out the scary sounds of “something big in the bushes.”
Later that evening as we stumbled our way back to the truck, following the glow of a headlamp, I found Aidan right at my side, holding tightly to my hand. With darkness settling in and big critters making noises in the thicket around us, my bold and confident boy had suddenly realized his need to hang on to his daddy’s hand. He had come to the realization that there was something out there bigger than he was and he wanted to hold on to the hand of the man that would protect him and keep him safe. It was a simple reminder to me of the many times that I’ve been a part of a similar scene as I’ve trudged through life. Countless are the times that I’ve boldly and confidently run into situations in life, without a care or concern of where my life was in relation to Christ. I’ve often run ahead of God’s plan…or parked it on the side of the road when I couldn’t understand what He was up to, or felt defeat in the midst of tough circumstances.
Regardless of the day and no matter the situation, I am reminded that I need to hold on to the hand of the one that will lead me, protect me, and hold me up.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Near Death- Deer Experience
by Brodie Swisher
Aside from his family and faith, Jeremy Taylor has few things that occupy his mind like chasing elk and deer when the season rolls around each year. This season has already proved to be a unique season for Jeremy, to say the least. Most any hunt presents its fair share of challenges and obstacles to overcome in order to find success. On this day however, Jeremy found that this particular hunt brought trials and a brush with death unlike any hunt he’s yet to experience. Fortunately, he was able to walk away from the experience and look back to truly see the mighty hand of God watching over him.
Vehicle trouble nearly kept me from this hunting trip, and it also nearly took my life on our return, says Taylor. We were hauling hay to a rancher where we hunt but the truck was overheating and we were pulling over every 20 minutes to cool the engine. At our fourth stop, we decided it just wasn’t going to work. A rancher training a horse in a corral next to the road needed hay and we needed to get rid of the 8 ton on our trailer so we could get hunting. Sure enough, out came the rancher’s checkbook and he bought the hay! He even agreed to keep our trailer for a few days! Our 6 hour trip took 10, but we finally made it just hours before dawn. We slept for a couple hours and headed up the mountain in search of elk. After a couple unfruitful setups, we started for a new area. Suddenly I realized there was a buck bedded in the middle of a meadow right in front of us.
My hunting partner Jeff decided to make the stalk and I swung around to cover a possible escape route. I heard an arrow buzz through the morning air but the buck only trotted a few yards towards me, looking back where the sound came from. I ranged him at 58 and drew my bow. The arrow made contact and the buck ran the opposite direction. We waited for a couple hours by hunting the elk drainage we were headed for and then returned to find my buck. We boned him out and stuffed him in my badlands day pack and returned to our camp. After a couple more days of hunting elk without success, we headed home. We were driving along the interstate at 75 mph, reliving the hunt on our cell phones, when the rear end of the truck slammed to the ground. I threw my phone down and wrestled the steering wheel, managing to get us safely to the side of the road. The left rear wheel had come off the truck and passed us, rolling 800 yards down the highway! Eight hours and one tow-truck ride later, we finally made it home. God truly provided and protected us on this hunt. Don’t set foot in the woods this fall without asking God for His provision and protection!
Hope and Optimisum
by Brodie Swisher
This past weekend brought the arrival of bowhunting season for a number of states across the country. As always, it was a time of great anticipation of what’s to come in a new season of encounters with wild critters. As you may have seen, there were countless Facebook friends that chimed in from the woods on opening morning via their smartphones. I always get a kick out of the number of camo-clad friends that sit perched in their treestand or groundblind and make comments on Facebook like, “Back in the treestand…fingers crossed!” The optimism in these guys is admirable. But what I really like to see are the posts that I saw from a few other friends. Their posts were strikingly different from the wishful thinking of some. Their status was, “Hunting season is here once again…something’s gonna die this morning!”
You see, there’s a big difference in optimism and the confident hope and assurance of what is to come. While some simply hang a treestand, cross their fingers, and wish for the best, others have done their homework. They’ve played the game enough to know what to expect. They are confident in what the ultimate outcome will be.
A passage from the Bible in Lamentations chapter 3 finds Jeremiah looking ahead with great confidence and hope for what lies ahead. Even after walking through a dark time in life and being in a place of despair, he says, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness.” (Lam. 3:21-23)
Do you find yourself in the midst of life’s mess right now? Do you try to look to the future with optimism yet feel bound by the struggles that keep you from moving on? Do you feel like you’re on the verge of being consumed by the crisis that surrounds you? I want to encourage you with the fact that we have more than wishful thinking and optimism to cling to. We have a confident hope in a God that is so great and merciful that regardless of the circumstance, we are not consumed. He will not leave us or abandon us. Great is His faithfulness! Do you find your hope in Him?
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.