FROM THE PROFS: Deer stand becomes meeting place for hunter and the Lord
Paige Patterson had a good hunt that day, and though he would have liked to continue, night had fallen. He humbly accepted that it was dark enough that he would likely be unable to hit anything even if he were to make a shot. When he told his fellow hunter as much, the hunter replied, “Well, I didn’t want to mention it, but that thought had occurred to me.”
Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary, affirmed that they should go. But when the other hunter began to descend from the deer stand in which they were stationed, Patterson stopped him. “I’d rather you not do that,” Patterson said.
Given Patterson’s previous invitation to depart, the hunter, who had just met Patterson earlier that day, was understandably confused. He inquired as to why Patterson would prevent him from climbing down from the deer stand. Patterson replied, “The problem is, if you miss a step going down, we’ll have to bury you, and I don’t think you’re ready for eternity—you’d be in hell instead of heaven.”
“How do you know that?” the hunter asked. Patterson lovingly explained that, having spent the day with him on a hunt there in South Texas and listening to him speak, he figured that the hunter did not know the Lord.
“Before you go down,” Patterson continued, “would you mind if I tell you how it is that you can be saved and go to heaven if you miss a step going down?” The hunter answered, “Well, I think I’d like that.”
“And so I had the privilege over the next few moments to give him the plan of salvation,” Patterson says. “I always keep my little New Testament in my back pocket, and I had it ready for him. I read him the plan of salvation with a flashlight.”
When Patterson concluded, he said to the hunter, “Now we can go down if you’re ready to ask Christ into your heart.” The hunter replied, “I am ready to do that.”
The man bowed his head and asked Jesus to come into his life. “I think the most wonderful thing about this story,” Patterson reflects, “is that for the next several hours, that night at supper, and the next morning when we were leaving, he must have stopped me at least 12 times and said, ‘Thank you so much for what you did last night. I had never known the Lord until now.’”
For Patterson, this experience affirms that witnessing can be fun. “I have more fun sharing the story of Jesus than I can begin to tell you about,” he says. “You will never be sorry when you share your faith.”