What a day! It's gonna be an awesome evening to play some softball! Or maybe you're thinking about heading for a hike in the mountains…or just taking the day to follow a golfball into the weeds and woods…But whatever you have in mind, it's a perfect day for praise!! And thanks!! Like I'm sooo thankful we live in such an amazing spot on the planet!
A couple of weeks ago, we went up to the Smokies and I saw Smokey! Well, I'm not sure if it was Smokey the Bear, but it was one of his cousins! At least I saw his big, round rear as he scooted across the road. I was jogging at the time. When I go jogging, I always think about all kinds of things. This time I thought about, "What do you do if a bear wants to eat you?" I'm not sure why I thought about it. Maybe it was because…I JUST SAW A BEAR CROSSING THE ROAD!!!
When we got home, I found that this thought remained with me…"What do you do if you're face to face with a big ol' bear?" So I looked it up. Man! There's a lot of confusion and differing opinions out there!
Here are the facts. "Bear attacks in the Smokies are rare".
"Bears in the Smokies usually weigh about 250 lbs. But they can be double that… One once weighed in at 600 lbs!" It's like on that show "The Biggest Loser"! If you ran into him, you WOULD be the biggest loser!
"Most injuries from black bear attacks are minor and result from a bear attempting to get at people's food…"
Good to know…This is when the advice gets a little nutty…
"If the bear's behavior indicates that it is after your food and you're physically attacked, separate yourself from the food…"
Really?! What else are you gonna do?! Hold on to it? "You're not getting MY sandwich, you furry free-loader!!"
Beyond that wisdom, the websites differ so much, it's hard to know who to believe…
One says,"If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it. Try to intimidate the bear."
Another says, "Talk quietly or not at all…"
Which is it, people?! Shout or shhh?
One says,"Make yourselves look as large and intimidating as possible…" ("intimidating"?)
Another says, "Turn sideways or bend at the knees to look smaller…"
Folks, make up your mind!! ! Do I make myself big or small?! All I know is I need to look as undelicious as possible!
Some of the advice just doesn't really make any sense at all. Like this…
"Stay calm. If you see a bear and it hasn't seen you, calmly leave the area. As you move away, talk aloud to let the bear discover your presence…"
My presence and anything associated with it is the one thing I DON'T want discovered!!
"Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you… Don't run, but slowly back away…Try to increase the distance between you and the bear…"
Let me get this. He's running! I need to increase the space between us…by NOT running but moving slowly…Huh?! Like the two guys running away from a bear. One yelled,"It's no good! They can run 30 mph! We can't out-run it!" The other guy yelled back, "I don't have to out-run it! I just have to out-run YOU!"
Y'know, I'm just glad when you need to know what to do in a tough spot, the Scriptures help you a lot more than the internet! I can know what to do! Jesus said that if a person will determine to do His will, he'll know what to do! (John 7:17,,,check it out!)
For example, let's say during the day…maybe first thing in the morning…or turning a corner at work…or walking in the door at the end of the day…you run face to face with a big, grumpy, growly "bear" of a person. You didn't expect it but you can tell that this person…whether it's your boss down the hall, or your five year old just wiping the sleep buggers out of his eyes, or the one who looked into your eyes so long ago and said, "I do!"…is in an aggressive, angry, grizzly "bear" of a mood. Almost like they just got up from a five month hibernation and they're hungry, achy, and grumpy.
What do you do?
"Do I try to act big or small?"
If you said, "small", you're right! Listen to this…
"Be completely humble and gentle"…"He must increase; I must decrease"…"clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Eph 4:2; John 3:30; Col 3:12)
"When you have to face a bear, some say I should talk softly and some say I should yell and shout. When it's this kind of 'bear', which is best?"
Answer? DON'T yell! Talk quietly and calmly, with only love! Here's unambiguous advice for you…"Do everything without arguing"…"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, yelling and name-calling"…"do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up….((Phil 2:14; Eph 4:30-31)
"Ok. Well, should I run or stay there? Some say one thing and some another!"
Don't run away! You've committed to caring for this person! Even when they're as grumpy as a…well, you know! In fact, in Ephesian 4:2 it says, "Bear with one another in love!"
In a world where some say, "Do this!" and others say, "Do that!" it's awesome that God can tell you and me exactly what to do!
The next time we go camping, if I stumble into a real bear of the Smokey variety, I still don't know what to do. But come to think of it, the Scripture does say, "Pray without ceasing!" (1 Thes 5)…and "Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed!" (Lam 3:22)
How 'bout this? David the shepherd boy said…
"When a bear came…I went after it…When it turned on me, I seized it by its fur and struck it!"
Wait a minute. I think that's against park rules.