About two years ago one of my best friends got me a book entitled, A Look at Life from the Deer Stand to which we both enjoyed a mouth-wide-open “Surely not….” and laughter ensued. In all fairness to the author I have only thumbed through the book so it must be noted that I cannot endorse nor critique the book. However, the title alone got me thinking about my own experiences in nature. This time of year, after the busyness of the semester starts to wear on me, I realize how much I need to pull away.
If I must be honest, possibly forsaking my redneck manhood, I don’t love processing a deer. It's a lot of work, and I have a weak stomach. I do love to hunt though. This might sound a bit odd if you know me and how much energy I typically have in my daily life, but that’s exactly why I love it. Deer season provides an excuse to get out into nature and be still. It gives me a reason to get up early, pray before the sun comes up, and spend time in silent worship as you see the creation come to life as the sun peeks up over the horizon.
I think the busier our world gets, the more vital silence and solitude is for us. One of my absolute favorite books is Donald Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. I love it because it is really practical without coming across as close-minded. Whitney has a whole chapter on silence and solitude, so I will simply recommend you read it if you are like me: a busy, work-a-holic, who always says “Yes” to every opportunity to fill my life with more and more.
In closing, I want to put one verse, one quote, and one challenge before us:
- In Mark 1:35, we see Jesus retreating in the same way that we need: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”
- My wife’s favorite, Jim Elliot, spoke to the need for silence when he said, “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds...Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.”
- The challenge I want to put before us is simple: take 30 minutes this week and sit in complete silence, preferably outdoors where you have the opportunity to look at God’s creation and admire his handy work. And if you really want to get the most out of it, drive out to a farm and take a look at life from a deer stand!