There are Bears and there are BEARS

Black bears, polar bears and grizzly bears are all considered extremely dangerous throughout Canada. They are extremely fascinated by the non-natural foods that we humans leisurely partake of (And who can blame them for wanting to have popcorn, coke, and a movie to watch?). But once a bear is "addicted" to human food, it cannot control its desires and it will do anything to obtain the food that it can smell. Especially when natural food sources are scarce!

When we were camping in Banff last summer, it was highly recommended that all of our food supplies be locked up in our car. We couldn't even keep food in our tent trailer, as the vehicle didn't provide adequate protection against Mr. and Mrs. Bear and their cubs! We were very compliant. I wasn't sure I would enjoy sharing my trailer with papa bear. After all, he would likely have taken up the entire bed!

According to one Vancouver Island guide in Tofino, British Columbia, Vancouver Island doesn't experience such bear attacks, and humans can live alongside bears peacefully. He told us that he had once been broiling a fish over a campfire when he heard a sudden movement behind him. When he turned to look, he was staring into the face of a black bear seated ten metres behind him. The bear looked at our guide curiously, smelled the air, and then moved on.

So why are the island bears less aggressive than the mainland bears? For one thing, only the slightly less aggressive black bear lives on the island. But according to our guide, the primary reason is that there are so many natural food sources on the island that the bears don't have to rely on human food for survival! Being omnivorous (eating both plant and animal life), the island bears have an abundant choice of berries, plants and fish. From time to time they will find a dead animal and eat its flesh, but no one has ever sighted a bear attacking other wildlife. In the words of our guide, "When a bear has an abundant food source, there is simply no reason to look for food elsewhere!"

It sure makes sense to me!

This is also so true for those of us who have met Jesus face to face. Once a close and intimate relationship has been developed with our Maker, the abundance He provides us with leaves us uninterested to the infamous attractions of this world. He is our everything, our provider, our almighty God: "Listen obediently, Israel. Do what you're told so that you'll have a good life, a life of abundance and bounty, just as GOD promised, in a land abounding in milk and honey." (Deut 6:3 The Message)

We will still face our fair share of trials, but if we remain settled on the unmoveable Rock, we will not be stirred by them: "Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit - but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock." (Matt 7:25 The Message)

From time to time though we may fall into the trap of thinking about the "lustre" of our old lifestyle. If we do, the temptation to return to that life will come in with a vengeance. Truly, the devil is trying to usurp the relationship we have with our Maker, trying to steal the intimate fellowship we have with God, to replace it with a life of servitude and defeat: "Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life - even though invisible to spectators - is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too - the real you, the glorious you… Done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you're dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete." (Col 3:3-4, 9-10 The Message)

Isn't it awesome that we no longer need to be afraid of the turmoil of life? With Jesus as our reality, He will provide for all of our needs beyond our expectations: "God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." (Eph 3:20 The Message)

How do you live your life? Are you a mainland bear or an island bear?

Hungry? Come to the source of abundant food: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever." (John 6:51 NIV)

Rob Chaffart

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