At two o’clock sharp on Friday I pushed the door outward into the cold wind. I was leaving the elementary school where I had just checked my son out early. I looked down at him as he walked, his backpack almost as big as his entire torso, and asked:
“Do you know where we are going?”
“Yeah!… we are going DUCK HUNTING!” he replied as he quickened his pace to the truck.
We loaded up in the truck and put it in the wind, westward bound, and headed for the Mississippi delta.
This was a day that I had thought about for a long time.
He’s been asking for several years if he can come along. As his daddy I always had to weigh the risks of what we do against the potential payoff. The style of duck hunting that our crew has pursued for the past several years is not for the novice. 2AM wake up calls, running rivers in the freezing wind and dark, hauling gear into remote swamps and wildlife management areas. This trip would be different. We had a great spot that was young hunter friendly. I couldn’t wait for his face when we finally got out there and saw the sunrise over the field.
The night before had been frantic as I scoured the house to find cold weather gear and all the necessities to keep a seven year old comfortable on his first trip. I wanted to make sure he had everything he needed so that this experience would leave a good impression and would set the tone for a life-long passion. I packed everything I could imagine we would need. I even packed articles of clothing that we would only need if the forecast was so horribly wrong that it would have surely been a sign of the end-times. When I picked him up from school everything was neatly packed into one bag and one tote. We were locked and loaded. Rolling to the Delta.
As we drove into the sunset he would periodically ask from the backseat:
“Hey dad, did you remember to pack gloves?” or “Hey dad, did you remember my waders?”
It was as if his brain was finally connecting the dots and he was actually thinking through where we were going and what we might face. I was proud of him for thinking through the process. That type of thinking will lend itself to success later in his life. But another thought crossed my mind. My son had actually never been duck hunting. He’d never put on gear and marched off into the woods in the middle of the night, walking through shin deep black water, unsure of what he may encounter. No matter how many videos he’d watched with me on the internet, or stories I’d told him, he had no life experience to really base any expectation on. He had to fully and completely depend on my packing job to ensure he had everything he needed for survival. He’s seven. He really wouldn’t even know what he would need or where to find it. It occurred to me that although he was setting out on an adventure, chasing a new experience, he was and would be fully dependent on me to be able to provide everything he would need to succeed.
Then it hit me; What about my journey? I AM pursuing something. I AM chasing a dream. But my destination in this journey is not somewhere I’ve ever been before. What about your journey? Isn’t it true that we are all aspiring to be something greater than we are now? Don’t you want to end in a better place than where you started? Don’t we all want our lives to be significant and matter to someone else?
The parallel was strong. I believe God has called me to something greater than myself. He has given me a great purpose. He has put before me a great adventure. However, I am inexperienced. I have never been on this adventure. I’ve heard other’s tell stories of their journey to significance. I’ve even watched videos about people who did great things and lived lives that mattered. But I am like my son. I am about to walk into the swampy woods and try and find the spot.
Then I remembered the packing.
In the same manner that my son had to trust me that I had packed and would provide everything he needed for his hunting trip; in the same way that he had to trust that I’d thought of everything, and because I’d been there before I would make sure he was outfitted with the right gear; in that very same way, you and I have to learn to trust God, our provider, that he has packed and prepared everything we need for our journey. He knows what lies ahead and even though we are not always aware of it He will always have the right piece of gear ready for us when we need it most, and not a moment sooner. Some days that piece of gear might be courage or strength. Other days it may be comfort and peace. But He is faithful to always deliver what I need when I need it.
Just as my experience in duck hunting gave my son reason to trust me to provide everything he needed for our hunt, so must you and I learn to trust in God. His intentions are clear and He is prepared to give us everything we need to experience life with Him.
God has something great ahead of you in your journey. He has designed you for impact and He sees tremendous value in you. Do you trust Him to give you exactly what you need, when you need it? Do you trust that He’s packed everything you will need for your journey?