It was a cold and rainy winter afternoon on a mountain in southeastern Oklahoma in 1984. Fog drifted over the ridge and settled into the valley below. The small herd of deer had run off the ridge and down toward the valley when I shot at the big buck that was following them. By the time I was certain I had made a clean miss on the buck, I was somewhere in the fog at the bottom of the mountain, and it was getting dark. I was lost!
I had to make a choice on which way to go up the mountain and I was running out of light. Would I make the right choice? It would mean the difference between hours of misery in the darkness and cold, or the warmth and light of camp. Since I had no compass, I would have to rely on luck and natural instinct. Thirty minutes later, I was out of light, out of luck, and out of natural instinct. I pleaded with God to please let me find my way off that mountain and back to the warmth of the fire that I knew was waiting for me.
While there had been a light wind blowing that morning, there was nothing but drizzle and calm all afternoon. Suddenly a breath of wind came off the top of the slope I was climbing and along with it a whiff of the oak fire I longed for. Within minutes I had scrambled up the next 50 yards and found the old logging road I had left a couple of hours earlier. Coincidence?
After I was back in camp, safe and warm, I convinced myself it was just that. But ever since that moment, deep down, I knew it wasn’t just coincidence. When I got home and related the story, my wife bought me a compass and I haven’t gone to the woods without it since.
For the next fifteen years I was on a similar hunt. One that required making a choice. A choice that would mean spending the rest of this life, and the next one, in misery and darkness, or a choice that would mean life filled with warmth, love, and light. After stumbling around lost and in the darkness for most of my life, I finally made that plea again, for God to help me find my way. Again, there was a breath of life that came to me. I finally found the Compass that would give me directions and I made the right choice. The Compass pointed to Jesus Christ, and He has shown me the directions for the journey of my life. Now, I never go anywhere without Him as my Compass.