The cool damp air seemed heavy as I climbed down the moonlit ladder. I breathed a little easier as I felt my foot touch the earth. I gathered myself, clicked on my headlamp, and started the half-mile trek back to the truck.
There were six of us hunting across the 700 acres that evening and we were all going to meet up at the truck to ride back to the house. I was the first to arrive back. The eerie quiet winter night seemed frozen. Nothing was moving. There was no sound. Moments later I saw the dim glow of head lamps through the trees as the other guys made their way in.
There had been no shots fired that evening, but the mood was light. As everyone arrived the usual stories began. Who saw what… who missed an opportunity… who fell asleep. We were loading our gear in the trucks and securing the guns when out of the darkness a violent explosion erupted.Every man jumped. I hit the ground out of pure reflex.
Seconds later, as the ringing in my ears was piercing, I stood up. Everyone looked around and did a quick assessment. Everyone was alive… stunned but alive.
Somehow, as he was clearing the rounds from his rifle, JD’s finger had hit the trigger and fired off a .300 Win Mag round. Being an experienced hunter he knew immediately the gravity of the mistake. If he had been pointing his weapon anywhere else it could have been fatal, but thankfully he was facing away from the group towards the wood line.
It was a quiet ride back to the house that night as the circumstances resonated in my head. That was a close call. The night could have ended very differently.
Have you ever had a close call in life? Maybe not a life-or-death close call. Maybe not that serious, but have you ever been through a situation and thought “wow… that was close”?
For me I’ve learned to look at those moments as a wake-up call. There have been many times that I have somehow managed to avoid disaster and come out unscathed. There have been mistakes financially that could have crushed me, or lapses in judgement that could have resulted in tragedy, or even just hasty decisions that should have led to disaster, but somehow I was spared serious consequences.
We have all had a wake-up call moment. The question is what did you do on the other side? Did you learn from the mistake and change your approach the next time? That’s where most of the real failure occurs. It’s not when we miss the opportunity or make the wrong choice initially, failure is when we don’t make the adjustment before it happens again.
A very simple definition of grace is God giving us something that we do not deserve. This grace shows up in my life as these wake-up calls, or second chances. In other words, when I experience something like I did at the truck that night, a scenario in which I could have been seriously injured if one factor was different, I choose to look at it as God’s grace. He’s given me a wake-up call, a second chance to correct something.
Where in your life have you seen grace like this? When have you gotten a wake-up call? And more importantly did you make the adjustment necessary to avoid the same mistake again next time?
As for my friend JD, I can assure you he will never leave a round in the chamber again on the walk out. The rest of us were reminded that no matter how experienced you are, one lapse in judgment could change everything.
Don’t waste the grace. If you get a wake-up call you must evaluate what went wrong and make the adjustment so that it doesn’t happen again. Pay attention to the wake-up calls in your life, make the shift, be a man who matters.