Heaven’s Rain by Randy Rowley 5/15/09 ©


Opening Day proved to be a perfect day for an FCS guided goose hunt – there was a high fog, it was very overcast, and it was cold for early November.

Seven friends and I met our Bill Sherrill Waterfowl guide at the Wharton Whataburger at 4:00 AM.  We ate breakfast, signed the liability waivers, and followed the guide a few miles until we stopped at a large field.

The first thing greeting us as we exited our trucks was a sound every hunter should experience at least once in their lifetime – the sound of thousands of geese honking in the distance.  Their serenade encouraged us to quickly gather our gear, white butcher coats, and stacks of white rag decoys – made out of cotton and attached to thin two-foot-long sticks.

After putting our shell bags and guns down, we proceeded to put out a Texas rag spread, easily the size of a football field, to entice large flocks of geese to join our party.

Then, with great anticipation, we lay down at our designated spots while listening to the increasingly loud serenade and watching the sky lighten in the east.

Finally, the geese lifted off!  It was like thousands and thousands of locusts taking off, but these locusts weighed six-ten lbs. each!

On an FCS goose hunt with Bill Sherrill Waterfowl two years before, I saw hundreds of geese lift off, but this flock seemed to have ten times more birds.  Several sections of the flock were so dense with birds that it looked like a giant flying blob.  It was breathtaking!

Then several geese headed our way.  Soon hundreds had gathered overhead and began circling like a black and white tornado.  Then sections of the tornado started to peel off and wind their way down towards us.  We gripped our shotguns tighter as we waited for the guide’s command to shoot.

The geese got closer and closer.  Just as we thought the guide was going to let them land among us, he said, “Take ‘em!”  Eight hunters raised their guns and fired as one.  About three seconds later, 24 empty hulls and several dead geese were on the ground.  We frantically reloaded as more geese headed our way, seemingly oblivious to the fates of several of their companions.

Some of the geese would break through the fog 20 yards above our heads, realize nine geese were much heftier than they should be, and frantically try to take evasive action.  Others were oblivious to us and never knew what hit them.

The guide wanted us to concentrate on the specklebelly geese first, as the limit for such geese was two per hunter.  Soon the guide informed us we had our limit.  We then began to target the snow geese.

Snow geese have excellent eyesight and are notoriously hard to decoy.  But on this day, I don’t think we could’ve kept them or the specklebellies from trying to land where we were, even if we had on neon pink jumpsuits!

The shooting seemed to be unending.  We would shoot geese from a flock, and another flock would arrive a minute later.

At around 11:00 AM, our guide decided we’d shot enough.  The count was almost unbelievable – our group had bagged 119 geese, one bird shy of 15 geese per man!  I’m not sure if the bird cleaners were happy or depressed when we pulled up at their shack with our geese.

I’ve been bird hunting since I was 15 years old and have been on many great hunts, but this hunt far surpassed the rest.  It was a hunt for the ages that we’ll probably never experience again, at least with that outfitter, as he set a 50-geese limit per group after our hunt.

Sometime later, it occurred to me that the way those geese rained down from the sky that day was very similar to how the Holy Spirit rained and continues to rain down on us when we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

There are several recounts in the Bible where the Holy Spirit came upon or filled men and women, but only one recount where the Holy Spirit came down, and one recount implying he came down.

The direct recount occurred when John the Baptist baptized Jesus.  Matthew 3:16-17 (NLT) says, “After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’”

The Holy Spirit came down, rested on Jesus, and anointed him for his ministry.  Jesus didn’t receive and wasn’t filled by the Holy Spirit, for they were one.

The implied recount occurred when the Holy Spirit filled Jesus’s disciples.  Acts 2:1-4 says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

Although Luke didn’t state the Holy Spirit descended onto the disciples, we know the sound the Holy Spirit made came from heaven.  Colossians 3:1-2 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Christ is above; therefore, as Christ and the Holy Spirit are one, logically, the Holy Spirit rained down from above.

Ephesians 5:18 (NLT) says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life.  Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.”  “Fill” is present perfect tense in Greek, which indicates that we should continually seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

When we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we also are filled with the Holy Spirit.  We don’t get a partial installment of the Spirit of God and then get the rest later.  We also can’t ever completely lose the Holy Spirit.  Some Christians believe “once we’re filled with the Spirit, we’re always filled.”  But that interpretation is refuted by Ephesians 5:18.  If we cannot allow the Holy Spirit to diminish in our lives, and if we’re as filled as we’re ever going to get, then why did Paul urge us to let the Holy Spirit fill and control us?  Paul wrote those words because we can and do rebel, take back control of our lives from the Holy Spirit, and need to let him fill and control us again.

Jesus said in Luke 11:11-13, “‘Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’”

Although sin no longer rules Christians, we still occasionally rebel.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  After confessing our known sins, God will forgive and cleanse us.  Once we’re empty of sin, the other parts of getting right with God must be to yield our lives once again to him, ask him to fill us with the Holy Spirit again, and believe he’s filled us.

Are you living a Holy Spirit-filled life?  Or do you need the Holy Spirit to rain down on you?  The Spirit of God is always ready to rain down on his children.  If you’re not where you should be in your walk with God – confess all known sin, and ask him to take back control of your life and rain down the Holy Spirit like those geese rained down on us on that cold November day!

The lift-off of geese

The hunters shooting at geese

Categories : Devotionals

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