The Smallness of Man

The following series of devotionals are taken from Dr. Tim Miller’s book, Seasons of Reflection. You can find out more about Tim’s ministry and order the book by visiting

I was hunting for whitetails along a heavily wooded ridge. It was a frigid morning with temperatures dropping into the teens. My entire body was almost numb. Several days earlier, I had located a persimmon thicket at the end of a long ridge. Deer droppings where everywhere and I knew this would be a good place to connect. Therefore, I strategically placed my stand downwind of the expected ambush point.

Just about the time the sun was coming up, I noticed a nice buck coming into view. The buck was traveling directly from the east, which made me look directly into the sun as he was approaching. The glare from the sun made it difficult to see through my scope the intended target. However, when he walked in front of a tree, I could see clearly and managed to squeeze off a shot. The buck immediately bolted off the ridge toward the creek bottom below.

I am red-green color deficient and it is very difficult to trail a deer. However, with patience and persistence, I can usually follow the trail. I started looking for blood and couldn’t find any at first. Then, I began seeing fresh blood on the leaves and followed it in the bright sunshine. The trail started out okay but then began to sporadically weave to and fro. Again, I was looking directly into the rising sun and the glare was intense. I knew the immediate direction the buck had bolted and the trail didn’t make sense. Surprisingly, I felt something running down my nose. It was too cold and too soon into the tracking process to be sweat. As I felt the bridge of my nose, I noticed blood on my finger. I was confused for a brief moment and then I realized what had happened. When aiming at the buck, I had compensated for the sun’s glare in my scope by sighting too closely to the scope’s eye guard. My expected eye relief was eliminated. Apparently, the recoil from the gun caused the scope to cut my forehead between the eyes. Due to the brightness of the sun and difficulty with my vision I had not realized I had been tracking myself! It took about thirty seconds to come to this realization. I would have laughed at myself, but at the time, it wasn’t funny.

I retraced my steps to the original position where the deer was hit and began following the real trail. Several minutes later, I was standing beside my buck. I took care of my prize and decided to continue hunting since I still had a doe permit in my pocket. I did not see another deer all day until late in the evening. This time the lighting conditions were very low. I could see clearly through my scope but it was getting almost too dark for a safe shot.

I was leaving the woods when all of a sudden a big doe started walking on a trail broadside to me. Since the light was fading, I unconsciously placed the scope closer to my eyes than usual. After the shot, I felt a hot liquid running down my nose (Yes sir, did it again…twice in one day…that’s got to be a record for complete stupidity. What an idiot,” I thought to myself. I cannot believe you did this again. “You” of course, referring to the scope.

At any rate, maybe it wouldn’t look that bad or maybe the cuts would run together so there wouldn’t be the tale-tale mark of twice an idiot. I continued to chastise myself for being the dumbest human on the planet. My forehead looked pretty bad, but I thought it was going to be okay.

My wife and kids sympathetically ooed and aahed before they broke into a restrained sort of laughter. At least they tried and this gave me an indication of how others would respond to my story. Maybe, I could somehow keep it a secret. What would I say when people asked? And they would ask.

That evening, we decided to eat supper at our local fish restaurant. As we entered the restaurant, I was hoping no one would notice the gaping wounds between my eyes. This was embarrassing for a “seasoned” hunter like myself. After the hostess seated us, I noticed a man across the isle with an orange hat on his head. Oddly enough, he had a big cut upon his forehead right between his eyes. Our eyes met simultaneously, in complete disbelief he stared at me and I stared at him. Seconds turned into what seemed like hours. Finally, I broke the silence and pointed to my forehead and laughingly said, “The sun sure was bright this morning wasn’t it?” He just laughed and shook his head – we didn’t have to say another word.

Challenge: How’s your self-esteem? Sometimes we beat ourselves up for the smallest mistakes. Truth is – most of us take our hunting very seriously. Occasionally, stupid things happen to all of us. Have you ever tripped and fallen on your face while hunting or slipped into a creek? These kinds of things remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. There is more to live for than maintaining our prideful demeanor of boastfulness and pretending our hunts always turn out perfectly.

Thoughts: Do you live for anything bigger than yourself? Someone once said the smallest package in the world is a man wrapped up in himself.

“…for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:14b

“Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10

Posted by Tim E. Miller

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