sooner or later, most
of us are bear bait
A recent letter
to the editor in TIME magazine said something like
this: To survive a bear attack while hiking in
bear country, hike with a friend. Make sure the
friend is more overweight and out of shape than you.
When you meet a bear, run like crazy. But you
dont have to outrun the bear, you only have to
outrun your pal.
At first glance,
this is humorous. Unfortunately, however, weve
all been that slower pal. It might not be a real bear
in the woods, but sooner or later, most of us are
bear baitset up by an office rival, betrayed by
a pretend friend, made the scapegoat in a prank
turned bad, given the pink slip during downsizing, or
betrayed by a marriage partner. Most of us will have
to face a bear at some point in our life.
Last fall, my wife
and I visited Alaska. We were warned about bears.
Hikers carried guns just in case they encountered
one. The week before our arrival, a grandmother and
grandson were hiking a familiar trail clearly
marked, heavily traveled, and just off the main
highway. When they encountered a bear, the
grandmother sent her grandson up a good tree. She
took off running in front of the bear, knowing her
actions would instinctively cause him to attack her
and forget about her grandson. Several hours later,
the boy was rescued from the tree. The grandmother
was found mauled to death. The boy learned how to
survive a bear attack: you hike with a grandmother
who loves you more than she loves her own life!
We survive our
bear attacks the same way.
Take your right middle finger
and gently touch your left palm. Then take your left
middle finger and gently touch your right palm. In
sign, youve just said the name Jesus. We know
Jesus name by the scars from his encounter with
This means we are not alone when our bear attacks.
Jesus came to face the bear so we could go free. He
so we wouldnt have to face our bear alone! And
guess what! He not only defeated the bear, but he
lives with scars
so we know we can survive one, too.
Since we share in flesh and blood,
Jesus shared in our humanity so that by his death he
might destroy him who holds the power of
deaththat is, the deviland free those
whose lives were held in slavery by their fear of
death.. Hebrews 2:14-15
One of the most haunting verses in all the Bible
occurs right after Jesus is arrested in the Garden of
Gethsemane. Speaking of the disciples, Mark 14:50
says, "Then everyone deserted him and
He was pierced for our transgressions, he
was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that
brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we
are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
He himself bore our sins in his body on a the
tree, so that we might die to sins and live for
righteousness; by his wounds you have been
healed. (1 Peter 2:24)