Anybody who spends any amount of time in the outdoors knows it can be a spiritual experience. The serene pleasure of listening to the woods wake up before daybreak is a testimony to our Creator. And for those of you who doubt divine intervention, I have a great story for you.
Tony Tristani, Jr. was a very dear friend of mine who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in late 2007. His prognosis was not good and, to be honest, he was a little bit angry with God. Why cancer? Why me? Why now? I have a family!
One or 2 years to live? This cannot be happening! One evening, while struggling to cope with his situation, Tony was sitting on his prayer rock in his backyard— his Heaven on Earth from the day he bought this property. His land was abundant with wildlife, and Tony had seen deer from this location countless times. There was only one problem: During the 3 years Tony owned the property, he’d seen only does—never a buck, not one time.
So, as Tony wrestled with his situation, he prayed for God to show him a buck. He needed to know that God was with him as he began his battle against this dreaded disease. Well, Tony sat there just knowing that the next deer out of the woods was going to be a buck when suddenly his daughter called everyone to dinner. The does that were out scattered, and Tony kind of chuckled to himself. Who am I to make demands of God? The next morning Tony and his dad were grabbing a cup of coffee and some medications in preparation for his upcoming surgery.
Tony’s parents had made the trip to town for that reason. As they returned from their errands, they pulled into the driveway and the first thing they saw was a buck! Tony shared his prayer from the night before with his dad and, as he did, an even larger buck appeared in the yard. They watched as both of these amazing animals disappeared into the woods. They walked into the house where a crowd had gathered, looking out the back window at another buck!
Tony’s dad then shared with everyone else his son’s prayer from the night before. It quickly became an emotional scene. About that time a neighbor was bringing over a care package for the family and said, “Have ya’ll looked outside today? I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 3 years and have never seen a buck, and I’ve seen them all over the place this morning.” Another neighbor got pictures that morning of several different bucks on the other side of the property.
Tony, who was overwhelmed with what was going on, finally stepped out onto the front porch to have a moment alone. He was just thanking God for what he’d seen when he said a voice inside of him said, “Tony, I can show you a buck or I can surround your house with bucks, but I’m with you and I always will be.” Tony eventually lived 37 months,and his message during those 3 years was, “God is good!” He changed countless lives during that time with his spirit and brought his community together.
There’s no doubt in my mind that God surrounded Tony’s house with bucks that morning because there’s no doubt in my mind that God was with Tony every day of his incredible fight. He will be missed but never forgotten.
JEFF’S LATEST BUCK The Creator recently granted Jeff the opportunity to tag a special buck on his farm.