Guest Post By Kyle Settle
God’s prevailing grace can often times be seen in our experiences in the outdoors. I know for me at least, even before I came to know and fully love God, I experienced moments where God’s grace was completely apparent. Even now, after giving myself to the Lord, I can see his work every time I am afield.
The years after college were a stressful time in my life as I was a young Engineer that was driven to succeed and was honestly greedy for success. To this point hunting and a connection to nature had always been paramount in my life but due to work and social commitments I began to stray from an outdoors lifestyle. Until one morning when I had an experience that snapped me back to reality.
With the opening of our rifle season, I decided it was time to go deeper into the mountains to hunt where I thought pressured deer would gravitate. I settled into a stand that rarely gets hunted and waited for the sun to come up. Even though this was close to 5 years ago now; I can remember how beautiful the sunrise was that morning. Turkeys began to pitch off from their roosts and mill around the ridge to my right. I began to call back and forth to them in hopes of them staying around during the morning. No matter how much I called they seemed to just want to go the opposite direction.
At this point in my life, prayer wasn’t a part of my routine and I was distance from the Heavenly Father. Prayer still came to me anyway. A few minutes went by without any signs. I began watching a large fox squirrel as he carelessly bounced around the log where I had shot at the Bobcat. All of a sudden he alerted and began to bark at nothing. Was this a sign? I immediately climbed down and walked down to the spot. Lying in a small nook between the log and a tree was my Bobcat. God has answered my prayer and given me an experience that I will never forget.
Three years later, I had a similar experience while hunting that not only strengthened my faith but drove me to fully give myself to God. My life was literally falling apart around me and I couldn’t see a way out so I did the only thing that helped to ease my anxiety and took to a treestand.
I was sitting in that stand analyzing all the poor decisions I had made in the last few years and was fighting an endless void that I felt inside. At this point in my life I was so wrapped up in myself that I couldn’t accept grace. I can remember praying for these feelings to be gone because if I continued to harbor them I would lose my life. Literally moments after uttering those words to God, a small five point Buck materialized out of the brush and walked directly under the stand. I raised my muzzleloader and harvested him at less than 20 steps. At this moment I realized that all the heartache I had endured was over. God had given me a sign that I was worth saving and that he had plans for me. Even though I did not know it at the time, Jeremiah 29:11 describes this instance perfectly “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Without that experience on that cold November morning, I would not have the life I have now.