While getting ready for class this evening the phone lit up with, “Hey Jason, your neighbor here. R u home?” Not knowing this neighbor too well, I was concerned. Making sure he wasn’t stalking my family, I texted back, “Nope, got class. What’s up?” He proceeded to tell me that he had shot a buck with a bow and was needing to track him in the pines.
Our small neighborhood consists of about 9 houses out in a rural part of east Tennessee, less than a mile from the Tennessee River. Between us and the river is a very thick pine forest that is preserved by a large corporation. Hunters are allowed to hunt on the property and we all do our part to make sure the hunting gets done.
After class I headed home, a good three hours after my buddy had first texted me. Night comes early this time of year and I was hoping he tracked his deer down quickly. I texted my buddy and asked him if he had found the deer yet. He said that he had and that it was a 7 pointer! However, he texted again to let me know that he was disoriented in the thick pines. He asked me to honk the horn on my car to see if he could get his bearings. I quickly headed outside and pressed my hand on the horn several times, to the disturbance of the whole collection of neighborhood dogs. After several exchanged texts and several rounds of honking my car horn, he let me know that he could here the horn and had been heading in the wrong direction.
First I thought, “well, that doesn’t happen everyday,” and, “it’s pretty cool to live in a place where you can give direction for a dude chasing down a deer by honking your horn at night.” Then I began to consider the life application of it all. It actually happens more than we notice that our friends, family, and neighbors get lost in the forest. Much of the time we are too busy entertaining ourselves to notice. Sometimes we can’t be where they are, because life has brought them to a place that we have not been or that we can’t currently go to. However, sometimes they just need a bit of direction to get out of that place. If they could only just see a light or hear a sound to guide them to a healthier place. I was thankful that I probably saved this man at least a couple of hours of wondering through the woods. We need to be watchful of our brothers and seek to serve as a landmark , as a reminder of our shared faith. Are you paying attention to the state of your friend’s life? Are you hearing their cries for direction and support? Can you help them walk out of the woods, or are you just as lost in the pines?