In Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks we noticed warnings posted everywhere instructing what to do in a bear encounter. Bear spray was encouraged for hikers. For $50 a can, I thought it was a scam. But after a little investigation, I discovered it to be real (basically pepper spray complete with instructions on how to use it and make a calm getaway, in case we startled a bear and it came after us). “The best life insurance you can buy out here,” the gal at the park gas station said. She informed us there were two momma grizzlies in the area, each with a pair of cubs. Not something I wanted to run into unprepared. Since we planned on doing a little bit of hiking, we bought the can of spray. When I told my sister, she said, “That’s nice. No worries, because you have the bear spray. But in all honesty, I’d be scared silly.” Although we, along with a park ranger and two-to-three dozen others, saw both grizzlies and their cubs on separate occasions (one was a bit to close to the campground) we never had to use the spray.
I laughed when we found the perfect T-shirt.
Seriously though, most bears typically avoid people and do not want to attack; they usually just want to be left alone. But we had the spray just in case.
Healthy fear can be a good thing, making us be smart, be prepared and be alert.
But destructive fear can be, well, destructive.
Unlike the bear, we have an enemy described as prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. We are told, “Stay alert! Watch out!” (1 Peter 5:8)
The enemy creeps in whenever there is an opportunity. He can slink in at night with whispers of fears that keep you awake. He can skulk into the hospital waiting room with murmurs of worry. He can hover about the cell phone as you wait for news. He pokes, he prods, he prowls, wanting to devour joy, hope, confidence and faith.
The Lord has not left us unprepared. He has given us what we need in an enemy encounter. He tells us to be strong in Him and in his mighty power, to put on the his full armor, so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
He has given us his Word as a can of enemy spray. When the enemy comes in with fears, worries and anxieties, we spray him with God’s word, standing firm in God’s promises.
If we submit to God and resist the devil, he will flee. (James 4:7)
When we trust God, when our thoughts are fixed on him, he will keep us in perfect peace! (Isaiah 26:3)
We can turn all of our anxieties over to God, because he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
When we’re burdened with worries, God comforts us and fills us with joy. (Psalm 94:19)
When we’re worried and anxious, we’re to pray and tell God what we need and his peace will fill and protect our hearts. (Philippians 4:6-7)
When the enemy chases us, when he pursues and attacks us, when we are afraid, we can trust God, we can praise him for his promises, we can know he will deliver us. (Psalm 56:1-4)
And in the midst of the clouds of fear, anxieties and worries, the Lord will show off in unexpected ways.
He did so for me recently, he continues to do so and he will for you as well.