This moment had been six years in the making. I had my longbow in hand and was closing the distance on a huge herd of bighorn sheep. Ever since I made my longbow in a dark, damp garage in Oregon, I had been dreaming about the moment that I would arrow my first animal with it. I had spent the whole summer practicing with my bow. I would go into the woods with my son in a backpack and we would romp through the trees sticking arrows in pinecones. It was only two weeks before my much-anticipated sheep season began, that my beloved bow exploded. After all of the preparation time I had put in, I was staring at a broken pile of fiberglass and walnut. After a little scrounging, I borrowed a longbow from a friend, retrained my eye to his bow, and was belly-crawling through the brush.
The sheep were working their way off of a flat and up a scree slope, nibbling on the brush as they went. I had been pinned down for 10 minutes as I watched them slowly file past at fifty yards, finally the last ewe went behind the line of trees and I began to close the distance. Staying on my belly, I figured that I could get to the tree line and be 20 yards right below where the sheep were feeding up in the rocks. And after crawling a couple hundred yards, my plan was almost complete. I say almost, because the last line of trees separating the sheep from my arrow, was incredibly thick. My backpack and quiver kept getting snagged and making noise. It was at that point I made a decision. I looked at my full quiver, pulled out a single arrow, and left everything but stick and string behind. I crawled through the tangle of brush and stood up behind the last tree.
The sheep had no idea I was there. There were two mature ewes and a young ram stripping a little bush about 25 yards away. I waited until the biggest ewe was quartering away, drew my lone arrow, found my anchor point and released. I watched in disbelief as the arrow sailed right beneath her brisket. The clattering arrow caused the whole herd to look around in confusion. They still had no idea what happened. But now I was left with a bow and no more arrows. I couldn’t believe it; I had just blown my one opportunity.
In a last ditch effort, I turned away from the sheep and crawled back to my pack. I figured by the time I returned, the sheep would have scaled the impossible cliffs above me and be out of reach. I slid my pack back on and crawled again to the same pine tree, the branches ripping at my quiver. As I came through the line of brush, I saw the improbable. The sheep had returned!
I slipped another arrow out of the quiver and prepared to take the same shot I had just missed. As I was taking my last step around the tree, another ewe popped out onto the trail below me. 18 yards away was the culmination of my 6-year quest. Draw, anchor, release. My heart stopped as I watched the arrow blow through the sheep and stick into a tree on the other side. She took three bounds up the rock face as the herd scattered and then she fell and came to rest ten yards away.
A European mounted sheep looking over my shoulder as I write this. That trophy wouldn’t be there without a full quiver. But there are more important “trophies” in my life.
Every day I walk into a classroom of children to teach them about the world. Every day I walk down the street and avoid eye contact with people that I don’t want to talk to. Every day, God gives me an opportunity to further His kingdom. And here is the kicker; He has equipped me to do it. Better yet, He has equipped you to do it. God doesn’t leave us standing behind the last tree watching helplessly as our last arrow sails inches low.
I know that I often feel inadequate to do the will of my Father, but as I read in the closing prayer to the Hebrews, I am reminded of what I have been given. “May the God of Peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Read that prayer again. It doesn’t say that the Father will give us a little of what we need, or even most of it. The cry of Paul’s heart was for the Hebrews, and now you and I, to receive everything that we need. A full quiver. God has put you on a path that will lead you to unspeakable trophies in your life. Realize where you are going, what you are shooting for, and then have the confidence to glance over your shoulder and see a quiver that is completely full.
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
II Timothy 3:16-17