“Jamie, I’m so glad that you’re my wife! We get to share this camping experience on our honeymoon!” Harry pulled her close in a hug and kissed her.
“This short hike has been worth it! Look at this beautiful campsite high in these trees! It’s a ‘10!’”
The couple set down their gear and Harry expertly put down a ground cloth and put up their small dome tent. They hadn’t the money to buy a better tent before their wedding, but as long as it didn’t rain, the tissue-thin fabric would hold up and kept them warm in the high country.
“Because this is bear country, we’ll put all our food in a tree far enough from the tent we won’t have trouble with bears.”
Jamie smiled. “Great! I’m glad you know so much about camping! I love it already! Just the two of us! I’m so in love with you!”
Nighttime came and the forest quieted down with the only sound being the wind swaying the tops of the pines. Jamie and Harry cuddled and slept with their arms entwined.
But sometime during the early nocturnal hours, Harry and Jamie awoke to the sound of heavy breathing, huffing, and stomping!
“A bear!” Harry whispered.
But the bear didn’t stop at the food in the tree.
The two quieted their breath and held each other even tighter in suspense.
Mr. Black Bear, all 350 pounds of him, liked the looks of their tent. He lowered himself onto the side of the dome, bending the flexible tent poles and flattening most of the rest of it. Harry and Jamie realized the tent ceiling was now two inches from their faces. The shelter of the car was far away! They could only wait to see what would happen and earnestly pray!
Mr. Bear huffed and puffed some more. Fortunately, after a time, Mr. Bear decided to move on. The tent creaked and sprang back into shape as the large furry predator heaved himself to his feet and lumbered off.
In the years that followed, Jamie and Harry invested in a better tent—and parked the car much closer to their campsite. But as far as sleeping entwined in the others’ arms, that was a keeper.
Still, they remembered the fear and the threat of harm.
Such are elements infused in life’s journey through the adventures from beginning to end. But aside from bears, fears and threats can come in relationships, in economic downturns resulting in loss of income or career, in loss of family or close friends. Overshadowing fears can even arise in legal disputes stemming from false accusations, traffic accidents, and liability claims, or heirs scrabbling over their share of the money after a benefactor has died. Life can change in a minute!
If we know we must face fear and enemies, how will we cope? Who is our adversary?
Paul explains, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” [Ephesians 6:12]
Taping into God’s power, Paul continues, “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” [Ephesians 6:13].
What equipment does one need to stand firm in life’s trying circumstances? Paul describes this with poetry and straightforward instructions: the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the gospel of peace, a shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” [Ephesians 6:18.]
With this foundation, all fear and battles will go forward with God having your back. That’s the bear truth of God’s protection. And that’s even more powerful than overcoming a 350 pound black bear!
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]