January 2019   
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When I was between the ages of 10-12 yrs. old, Dad began to teach me how to hunt on my own.  He would bring me to a nice section of oaks where he knew there would be squirrel and tell me to sit quietly, until I would see one and then try to get it on my own, and there was such satisfaction when I would succeed.  I really liked hunting on my own but if I got scared or bored, we had a signal; I would whistle like a quail and if he answered, I had permission to go meet him.  On one particular hunt I was bored because nothing had moved and I was ready to go on to the next place—so I whistled and immediately got a reply.  It was a little confusing because the sound came from the opposite direction that Dad had traveled in, but I figured he just got after a squirrel and came up behind me.  So, I began walking in his direction, and as was the custom, when I could not find him, I simply whistled again.  Once again I got an answer, still in the same direction, but deeper into the woods.  What I did not know, was that a real quail was answering me, and I was walking farther and farther from Dad, who thought I was still in the spot where he left me.  Short version:  I got lost… really lost!  There was no more whistling, I was shouting and getting no response, and naturally going in the wrong direction.  Finally I sat down and just started crying, until I heard Dad's voice calling out my name. You talk about one happy little fellow.  I knew the voice of my father, and even though I still did not know where I was nor how to get back to him, I quit crying and began to shout back to him.  I knew my dad never got lost, and he always found me… many more times than I will admit to here.  My dad was just like my heavenly Father, who desires to teach me things that will mature me and bring me to greater understanding of His power, so He leaves me in a safe place, where I can stretch my spiritual wings, and learn to trust Him even when He is not near.  And just like my dad, He knows how to find me. You see, He never gets lost but will gently call me back to Him, because He loves me.  Why would my dad leave me alone in the woods?  To teach me to trust the words and instructions I had received from him over the years.  To give me enough knowledge that one day I could do these things on my own and not need to be led by the hand. And to teach me how to teach my children when it was my time to be the Dad.  Why does our Heavenly Father seem to leave us alone at times?  To teach us to trust Him  (These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God. 1 John 5:13); to show us we can do all things through Him  (I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13); and to prepare us to teach others   (And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Tim 2:1-2)  So, the next time you feel like you have lost your way, be still and wait on the Lord—He knows where you are and will soon call your name and lead you to His side where He will comfort you and teach you even deeper truths. Trust Him.