Recently, I’ve been re-reading a classic, Where the Red Fern Grows. If you haven’t read it, this great novel is about a boy and his love for his dogs. In the story, there’s a pretty cool moment. This young boy makes a promise to his dogs (who have chased a raccoon up a tree) that he will chop the tree down so they can catch it. However, this tree happens to be huge, the largest tree in the area.
(Have we made promises to our family, spouse, or friends that we’re committed to fulfill, no matter what the cost?)
This young man chops away at that tree for a whole day and night, yet still has two more days of chopping to go. He continues, however, since he’s made a promise. Spoiler alert: During the second day of chopping, the blisters on his hands burst. He tries to drop his ax, but it’s still stuck to the open flesh on his hands. He falls to his knees, crying and apologizing to his dogs. Then he prays to God. Suddenly, a breeze comes out of nowhere. In fact, no other trees move except that giant one. The tree falls, the dogs get the raccoon, and on they all go to the next adventure.
How does this relate to us as men? I think there are times when we wait much too long for prayer and the Father’s help. We wait until we’re at the end, blistered hands and broken spirits, struggling and very susceptible to rash decisions. As men, we need to stay connected to the One who gives us strength and answers through His presence, His Word, and the godly counsel of others.
I encourage you to let God help you with the obstacles in your life. Don’t wait until things get desperate to ask for His help. He wants to participate in the beginning, middle, and end of our adventures. Who knows? When you give Him the lead and control, He might even blow those obstacles down by His power, before the blisters on your hands have to burst!
For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? 32 It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.33 He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places. Psalm 18:31-33
Eric Shawn Raftery