The Day I Saw a Bear

I saw a bear today.  Not one in the zoo, either.  In the woods.  Like 20 feet away.  Don't worry; I was in a car.  But still, I saw a bear.  And it was 20 feet away.

It was an answer to my prayers.

Ummm... for real.

I have been in a season of frustration - where I can't see what God's hand is doing.  My prayers seem to be scattered, my thoughts disarrayed, my heart a kaleidoscope - shards of what I know and what I don't not making any sense.

This morning I taught our littles about Joshua and Caleb... you know, twelve men went to spy on Caanan...  Over and over again we talked about how Joshua and Caleb (Numbers 13-14) knew God would keep His promises.

We then talked about who God is, one of my favorite things to do with kids.  (There's a post about that.)  Here is the list they came up with:

He is our compass.   (He helps us know where to go.)
He sticks like glue. (He is faithful.)
He is powerful.
He is the creator.
He is the King.
He is the Big Boss (Lord of Lords).
He is our Savior.
He gives us every good gift.
He is good.
He is life.
He is love.

And then I asked them: If that's who God is - do you think God can keep His promises?  Well, God's people - other than Joshua and Caleb - didn't think so.

It's the same question God asked Moses.  How long until they trust me?

In the midst of the restlessness of my heart, I heard the same question.  How long until you trust me?

It wasn't a big ah-ha moment... just a little reminder to my What In The World Are You Doing anxiousness.

And then we hit the road, west a little bit, and arrived at Shenandoah National Park.  While driving, I prayed that we would see a bear.  A few of my friends had seen some, and I wanted to, too.

So, God, who didn't need to, gave me a bear.

He's done this before.  Given me wind when I asked for a breeze.  Twice he has brought rain right after I prayed.  Another time, there was a flamingo when I was begging Him to remind me of His presence.

And this time it was a bear.

I know God is not a genie in a bottle.  I know that He is not a cosmic Santa.  But I also know this: sometimes our hearts are too stubborn to hear His gentle whispers, so He answers specifically and even dramatically.

And here's the question... If God can put a bear 20 feet away from me after I ask Him to... can't He live up to the promises He has made?


Lord, you have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lordyou know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!


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