As a Cherokee youth moved into manhood, the tribe had a custom of taking the young man into the middle of the woods on a dark night and leaving him there by himself. Needless to say, the young man heard every owl hoot, every branch rustled by the breeze, every falling pine cone, and even scurrying rodents. He had no trouble imagining that every shadow was a black bear looking for a meal. It was usually a terror-filled night for the youth who anxiously awaited the comfort of dawn.
What happened at dawn? As the young Cherokee strained his eyes to see his surroundings more clearly, one of the first things he would see was his father standing watch nearby, with weapons ready to protect him. The boy, of course, had no idea that his father had stood guard all night.
Throughout our lives we will encounter many scary moments. We will feel alone, anxious, abandoned, frightened, etc. But during none of those moments does our Father, our Heavenly Father, leave us. Just like the young Cherokee, every moment of every day, we are protected. God won’t let anything happen to one of His beloved children.
One scary moment that I can remember was my first year of deer hunting when I was 12 years old. The week before opening day my Grandpa and I set up our stands. My stand was about a quarter mile hike from the road in the woods. My Grandpa’s stand was a less strenuous hike, only about 100 feet from the road. Both ways to get to our stands were marked with orange tape, which made it easy to find, or so I thought. On opening day a week later, at about 5am, my Grandpa dropped me off on the side of the road with all my gear, and I started to make my trek into the woods to find my stand all by myself. Obviously at 5am it is still pitch black out, but I had a flashlight. And with the light I was able to find the first two or three orange markers. But then – I can remember this like it was yesterday – the winds picked up, I started hearing noises, and I walked aimlessly around which seemed like miles, but was only feet I’m sure. I could not find any orange trail markers. It was like they all disappeared. The winds were howling, the trees were moving, and I was absolutely certain there were all sorts of animals running around me. I panicked and was terrified! Thankfully, I had a walkie-talkie, so I walked out from under some trees and called my Grandpa. He told me to wait a few minutes, try again, and if I still couldn’t find it to come walk to his stand. Already in a panic, I skipped the trying again part and walked immediately to his stand which I found with ease. My Grandpa’s deer stand was like a small house and plenty of room for two, so he welcomed me into his stand with open and loving arms.
Unlike the young Cherokee I at least had the comfort of knowing my Grandpa was only a call and a short hike away. He didn’t want my first hunting experience to be a bad one, so he comforted me when I lost my way. He was there for me the whole time and never abandoned me. Deuteronomy 31:6 ways “Be strong and courageous; do not fear or be in dread of them. For the Lord your God goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” My Grandpa was there for me just like God will always be there for us. When you’re going through some rough times, call out to Him. He wants to help you and will help you. Even though you can’t see Him, you can put your faith in Him, knowing that He will be your shield, your fortune, your rock. He’s got your back.
“A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”Psalm 34:19.
Later that morning I went back to my own stand and found it without any trouble. All along, I happened to be just feet from it.