Grizzly Memories

            An Alaskan English professor and her two young nieces ran afoul of a grizzly on a trail at the Chena River State Recreation Area. The bear was only a cub—perhaps 200 pounds, but it seemed intent upon protecting territory or killing for food. A burly sow wandered elsewhere out of sight, but this juvenile bruin became obsessed with the hikers.

The professor warned the girls to run up the trail while she prepared to confront the grizzly with a can of bear spray and a walking stick. The stinging, stinking bear spray should have demoralized the bear (as advertised), but not this one.

            The professor smacked the grizzly’s head with her wooden cane. It shattered, and she threw packages of macaroni and cheese at the bear, hoping to distract it with anything other than her. Suddenly her nieces screamed. They had seen another grizzly! The girls rejoined their aunt and all three huddled close as they hiked slowly toward the trailhead.

            The aggressive cub retreated, sizing up the frightened trio, then “false” charged them—again and again—for nearly a mile. The grizzly finally lost interest and the teacher and her terrified nieces found safety inside a lodge.

What will these two girls remember when they think about their visit to Alaska?

            Sometimes a particular scene splashes across our minds over and over—a tragedy or traumatic experience—and we have a choice: Relive it, or neglect it.

            Thanking God for his presence even while memories stalk us, ignites our eternal perspective that delivers peace, where no peace is possible. Jesus promises never to forsake us—not during an unpleasant experience and not when we are reminded.  

            And many times the omniscient Holy Spirit illuminates the “good” along our bitter trails that we may have forgotten.

            Like the courage of a level-headed aunt. 

II Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.

Prayer Focus:

Jesus, thank you for being present in all of my thoughts. Help me neglect memories that distract me from believing your truth. 


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