“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1: 7 Ryrie Study Bible NKJV
Yesterday we strolled Madera Canyon with our friends the Smiths from California. My friend Bob has encountered three bears in Madera while birding this past year. I walked slowly and carefully down the canyon expecting a bear sighting at any time. My heart was racing… my feet softly stepping …and my camera ready to capture my time with Smoky. Madera is known worldwide for birding and my friend Bob is a birder. I am a bear lover. We arrived at the end of the path and I heard a low growl. Creeping towards the low growl with heart racing out of control, the growl stops. I capture my breath and meander backwards hoping to spot my bear friend and I hear another roar. Bob thinks it may be a havelina, Todd thinks it may be a mountain lion, my daughter just thinks I’m nuts. Speaking of nuts… the signs all say not to feed the bears so we won’t… but I’m desperately seeking to see a big, beautiful brown bear… the suspense is brutal and realistically the bear encounter seemed really exciting till I am profoundly aware of the close proximity of his warning call. Back to Smoky… we proceed through another opening down the heavily shaded path… down the canyon, the bear is deeper and louder this time and a little metal- like in its communication with our hiking party. We will refer to the bear from now on as “Heavy Metal”. Bob once saw a small bear hanging out in a tree, so I wonder if Heavy Metal is watching me. Bible teachers like to use the acronym FEAR when teaching the concept of faith. FEAR stands for false evidence appearing real. To believe in the unseen is faith. To believe in a lie is fear. I had faith I would see a bear because of Bob’s eyewitness account of bears at Madera. The fear I felt each time I heard the bear roar was a lie. Why? You see the roar of Heavy Metal was simply cars driving over the metal grates on a cattle crossing on the adjacent road. We choose to believe lies every day and this allows fear to haunt our days and sometimes even our precious nights. Luke 17:6 tells us only a small amount of faith is needed, as small as a mustard seed. Romans 14:1 says we are to accept the person who has weak faith. Hebrews 11 has great examples of faith.
Faith is…ceasing to worry, leaving the future to the God who controls the future. Pamela Reeve
Today Bob is at the Tucson Heart hospital recieving 5 bipasses… Bob had a heart attack a couple Christmas ago and we all struggled honestly with the fear of losing Him, and yet the Lord allowed us 2 more years of health befor this current scare. We love Bob, and we all cried with concern. I’m not sure who said it, but may I never forget that tears are God’s way of making sure that our lives don’t flood.
I am resting in Faith… the Lord knows the number of days our beloved friend Bob has on this planet with sooo many beautiful elegant trogons for Bob to enjoy.
Fear on the other hand is evidence that we lack faith. I became afraid of the bear I could not see, but still had faith that it was real. I am afraid Bob will die, but isn’t the Father in heaven Bob’s protector?
Psalm 27:1 tells us that the Lord protects me from danger so why should I tremble?
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Phiippians 4:6
All this talk about fear and faith… where or where is she going with this? Heavy Metal, my bear friend is the heavy metal of fear you drape around your neck as you step wearily into your day without God. Faith is the freedom of walking restfully in the hope of a life filled with His powerful unmistakeable presence. Fear or Faith?
The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. William Faulkner, 1897-1962 American Novelist
Imagine Elephant Head above as your mountain of fear… start dropping your fears stone by stone and place at the foot of the cross. Stay tuned Bob is still in surgery…
“To become that which you are not you must go a way in which you are not.” St. John of the Cross
Rest in Him, Trish
Trish: I love this story. I was gripped with anticipation when reading it. I thought you were crazy for actually searching for a bear. I would do the opposite 🙂 I have to admit I was a bit disappointed a bear didn’t appear. My disappointment quickly changed to appreciation as I read the rest of your wonderful story and how you saw God in this experience and related it to the subject of faith and fear. Something that I struggle with.
Thanks for sharing.
Great story, analogy, and preaching!
How is Bob??
And on a completely different note…have you ever read the kids’ book _Gentle Ben_? I read it aloud to the kids. It was very nice. Next bear book: The Bears of Blue River, set in Indiana.
Trish Southard said:
My friend Bob is home after 5 bipasses at the local Heart Hospital…. he is recovering slowly and Praise God he is alive!