My family has had one of those Christmas stories that you hear about and hope it never happens to you. Five days before Christmas we found out that my wife's aunt had passed away unexpectedly. One of those happy, funny aunts who is always glad to see you and makes you feel loved. Add to that loss that we still don't know exactly what happened, and we've had a few heavy days leading up to Christmas.
Then I got a call from my mother-in-law asking if I would speak at the memorial service. Grandma was hoping I would share a meditation and words of comfort for the family. Well, for Grandma I agreed to do it, but speaking at memorial services is a little out of my comfort range. I tend to be pretty emotional at that kind of service, and I'd rather be emotional sitting in a pew than standing in front of several hundred people. And what do you say when some of the questions don't have any answers?
On the other hand, I felt a sense of opportunity. An opportunity to comfort a lot of people who are special to me. An opportunity to express my faith. An opportunity to share the Word of God with some people who will mostly ignore it this Christmas.
One of my first moves was to send out some texts and e-mails and ask some friends to pray for me. I dug up the most recent e-mail about planning the next Faith in the Field event, replaced the subject line with “Prayer Request,” and sent a note off to the guys. Over the next few hours I got a bunch of replies expressing sympathy and encouragement and agreeing to pray for me. It was a huge boost to get that response.
All I can say is that their prayers were answered in unmistakeable ways. I spent several hours putting together the thoughts I wanted to share, but when I finished, there was no doubt that this was what I was supposed to share. I was actually a little fired up to get up there and say it. And I got up in front of those several hundred people with Kleenex box in hand, and I needed...none. Maybe I hit a home run, or maybe it was just a solid line-drive single, but I have to acknowledge that the prayers of my friends and family were huge.
So the next time you visit the Faith in the Field Facebook page or check out a Seeking the One DVD, I hope you'll recognize that we love to hunt and fish and talk about hunting and fishing, but we're not just about hunting and fishing. Following Christ is a full-time calling, and God touches every part of our lives. It was such a boost to my faith these last few days that when I needed support, I could even call my hunting buddies, and their prayers were answered.
Thanks, guys! It meant a lot to me.