We live in a part of New Mexico that is known for its elk. I don't hunt but a friend in Minnesota told me before we moved here that there are big elk in this part of the state. An elk is a pretty good sized animal and the reputation for elk hunting here is exceptional.
On the highway we drive heading east of town there are areas with tall fences, the kind of fence designed to keep animals such as trophy deer and elk inside. And on a recent evening while driving on the highway west of town we saw four bull elk standing in the ditch along the road. Better for us that they were in the ditch, because those were very large animals and striking one with a car would be very unpleasant all the way around.
There have been a number of times in the past two months when I have seen elk hunters sitting along the road, binoculars in hand and scanning the horizon. That has mostly been in the area 15-25 miles east of town, although sometimes they have been closer to town.
Yesterday was one of those mornings. There were two men sitting in a pickup from a guide service scanning the area north of the road. They were just off of the reservation, about ½ mile from the boundary. It was just before sunrise and I was out running, heading back towards town. I saw them pull over ahead of me and they left just after I went past them. There must not have been any elk in the area.
This morning, at about the same time of day but on a different road and about one mile from where I was yesterday I was surprised to look up and see five elk, all females, crossing the road about 200 yards away. They didn't show themselves for long, emerging from one wooded area and quickly disappearing into another.
I was on a higher road than yesterday, and as I looked off to the north it appeared as if the area the elk had traveled from was the same place the hunters were checking on yesterday. Unbeknownst to the elk they had passed from danger into safety. They had moved from an area that remains open to hunting and crossed onto the reservation, where the elk season is closed.
On my return home I thought a little bit about the elk, who move back-and-forth across an invisible boundary between safety and peril, and about people, who move about in either spiritual peril or safety. In both cases the dividing line is unseen but it is the nature of the dividing line that is different.
The elk move between one side and the other, perhaps many times in any day, and for as long as they live.
Humans live on either one side of the line or the other. They live in either peril, which can be eternal, or in safety, which is eternal. They live either apart from salvation in Christ, or they live safely in the arms of Christ.
The boundary marker is faith in Christ. And it is like a one-way gate. Once you pass through from the side with no faith there is no going back. God's hold on you in Christ is eternal and He never lets go.
No Bible verses or other bits to support my point tonight. If you are interested in learning more I would be glad in talking with you. And I would be glad to pray with you.
May you always dwell safely in the arms of Christ.