Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lord, Spare me the Bear

It was on a July day in the woods of Muskoka that I had an encounter with a black bear.  At first I heard and then I saw the bear making it's way noisily down the tree to the path where I was walking while I prayed.  It looked over it's shoulder at me and we made eye contact.  I was where he (or she) didn't want me to be.  I couldn't have agreed more with the bear.  At that moment I didn't want to be there either.

I did the one thing you don't do when faced with a bear.  I turned and ran.  Never run from a bear!  I didn't outrun the bear, the truth is that if it had been chasing me I wouldn't be writing this.  But at the moment it sure felt like it.  For a few minutes I ran full speed back up the trail, up the hill, until I ran out of energy, adrenaline and breath, and I prayed.

"Spare me the bear, Lord, spare me the bear.  Spare me the bear.  Spare me the bear."

The prophet Amos had already written my epitaph.  "As when a man escapes a lion only to meet a bear." Amos 5:19

I had been walking and praying that God would lift a burden off my shoulders, actually challenging Him to do so.  God, in His wisdom sent the Holy Spirit in the form of this bear to remind me that sometimes what we wish for is worse than what we've got.  God can relieve us of any distress, but we might not like the alternative.  It would be as if a man escapes the lions he wrestles with only to run smack-bang into a bear.  Which would you prefer?

"I'll take the lions, Lord, at least I know what they are, but Lord, spare me the bear."

God doesn't ask us to go to battle alone.  He sent Jesus to help us, not to remove the cross from our shoulders, but to get on the other side of the cross beam and lighten the load.

And so, with Christ's help, we can shoulder any burden and tame the lions in our lives.  We just have to ask.

1 comment:

  1. Jeremy... this is so true. Thanks for writing this.. I could picture you running up the hill.. as would I as well.