What If or What Is ...That is the Question!
People think I’m crazy when I start telling them my hunting plans—most nonhunters don’t need to hear my plans to think I’m crazy. Today’s culture has been deceived to think that the artificial, concrete, and climate controlled environment is the quintessence of living life as a human. Only in 2021 can the men of our western culture be manipulated to compare hair products and place their self-worth on an Instagram feed or care about what their possessions say about their masculinity. Knowing this I should understand what the current worldview has done to us. I should understand that the manipulation, I hear when people
“You wanna go where?”
“You want to pack in that far.”
“Have you ever worried about bears?”
“What if something Happens that far in?”
“How can you sleep where the wolves are?”
“Don’t you know you can die out there?”
Is a product of a mass misinformation campaign and is not the true nature of those who ask.
So much of what drives the western culture is fear nowadays, so much so we overlook common sense and gravitate towards messages that promise salvation, yet deliver none. If you don’t believe me just take note of how many people drive in their car with a mask on. Better yet, we like sheep, follow all social distancing protocols in the airport just to cram into a aircraft like sardines moments later. This type of fear is the vacuum that removes life.
Just imagine if we approached hunting this way, allowing the “what if’s” rule. We would accomplish nothing. We would pass up so many God given opportunities.
I was Infected by the chronic disease of “what ifs” as a young man. I thought about them so much that I became disoriented and numb. I couldn’t make a decision to save my life, more less stand by one. I became paralyzed to life and tried to find meaning in the actions of the masses, calling democracy the king, but soon that also became deafening as I realized that it was like the blind chasing the blind. The actions
of the masses were still lifeless and so was their message. There had to be something more…something real had to exist…something beyond the “what ifs” that seemed to occupy most of humanity. There has to be a “what is,” if there is anything of substance.
This “what is” was frightening at first
because I knew I wasn’t it. Although I knew the Idea of “what is” would lead to reality, I didn’t want to give my control up. By saying “what if” left me in control, but it also left me in a state of theories, not reality. That is why I am so thankful for elk hunting. That’s right, elk hunting.
God uses elk hunting to teach me to flee from the “what ifs” and pay attention “what is.” I hunted elk for years running on popular theories and scenarios. I remember listening to a so called “elk expert,” and not moving for an hour after bugling because he said to stay put for that amount of time as the elk sometimes come in silently. I employed every theory known to man. Listen to every notion on the VHS (that’s right VHS) instructional videos and tried every magical call that I could get my hands on, but with no avail. I spent years in this mindset until one warm September midday blunder.
It was about 2 pm, and I was on my way back to camp because, all the experts know that elk only bugle in the mornings and evenings. I paid no attention the noise that I was making as I had no hope see a elk in this heat. The ground I was walking on was mossy and half saturated by a spring. Every step produced a loud slurppppp. After 100 yards of slurping my way up the draw I was sure that every animal in the neighborhood vacated the premises, after all, all the expert bowhunters sneak through the woods. At the top of the spring, the alders became so thick that I was wading through them clanking and breaking them as I went. The movement must have looked like a bull raking because a challenge bugle, and galloping started just beyond the alder patch to my left. Within seconds I was standing face to face with a giant of a cascade bull. I was caught so off guard by the reality of the situation, as this scenario went against everything that I was taught about elk hunting, that it almost didn’t seem real in my mind. For another minute the bull and I just stood there until he decided something weird was up and headed back to his cows.
I will never forget that elk, or what God taught me through him. It was as if the Lord said, “observe what I have done, live outside of theories and look towards the what is.” Since that day I have approached my elk hunting and Life in that way. Now sayings like, “elk are where you find them, and elk are elk,” dominate my mindset. I rely more on what the situation calls for(God’s “what is” ) than what theories the experts come up with, which has put me in more elk duels than ever before. God taught me the humility to see that the truth exists in the personal reality presented, not the theorized ideas of man.
This mindset holds water in the rest of life as well. The broken human spirit tends to default to the fear ladened,” what if’s,” working out how every scenario that will kill them. God points us to the what is, and the picture is very different. This is why he says do not fear the things of this world over 100 times in the Bible. He knows the end game, and there is only one thing you should fear…God Himself. God looks at material death completely different than we do. Although a funeral, or gravesite seems like the end to us it isn’t. We all know this intuitively, but Jesus proved it spiritually and materially. We act as if we have control over our own mortality, yet God tells us “ Since his days are determined, and the
number of his months is with you(implying God), and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,” Job 14:5 He also says in Psalm 139:16 “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” This is the, “What Is” of God, and you have no control over it. That is freedom for those who know who they belong to, and where they are going.
So the reality is, when people question my sanity about the life I live in the woods, the moderated risk I take, and the adventure I long for, they are really just putting off the “What is” in their mind, believing all the theories of man, rather than the freedom of letting Jesus guide their thought. Focusing on the slavery of the material rather than focusing on the reality of the next. Worshiping the mortal rather than seeking the eternal.
So then, without being to confrontational, where have you been placing your heart? If it’s dominated by fear may I suggest that you need to do business with the Lord. We all are afraid of something, but what has your heart? Has the fear of 2020 crippled you? Do you give your mortality more traction than eternity? Good things to visit within our soul, as the world is becoming so loud that its hard to remember that Fear of the Lord is the beginning of (what is) Knowledge Prov 1:7, and that Knowledge will set you free. JN 8:32