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The Bears

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The speaker at our business organization breakfast was a prominent attorney known for his service to the community. In his remarks, he commented on the pleasure he derived from working with the Boy Scouts of America program, especially the Cub Scouts.

He told of an experience with a group of Cub Scouts on an overnight camping trip. They had a great time tramping about the woods, hiking, swimming and enjoying other fun camp activities. After supper, and after talking around the campfire, it was time for the boys to go to bed.

It grew quiet as the boys snuggled down in their sleeping bags for the night, and the attorney and the other counselors were glad to have a respite from the busy activities of the day. But after a few minutes of silence, one boy spoke up with a tremor in his voice, to ask: "Counselor, aren’t we going to say our prayers?" The counselor replied quickly: "Well, sure, we can do that. You can go first!" At that, the boy crawled out of his sleeping bag. On his knees, with great fervency, he prayed out loud, "Lord! Save us from the bears!"

Until that moment, there had been no discussion or concern about bears, and no other apparent interest in prayer. But as the young camper finished his heartfelt petition to God, the other campers—now alerted to the perils of sleeping in the woods—each, in turn, crawled out of his sleeping bag and presented his sincere, urgent prayer for protection from the bears.

This humorous and heartwarming story reminded us that we are sometimes unaware of a problem, real or imagined, until someone points it out to us.

In the perilous times in which we live, we certainly need to be alert to danger and to potential problems. And yet, we should not overreact, nor should we be fearful. The Bible has much to say on this subject. Danger, difficulty, trials and tests are nothing new in human experience, and the One who inspired Scripture gives us valuable instruction and guidelines to meet the challenges of life with a calm spirit and with peace of mind.

For example, consider this pearl of wisdom: "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3). Those who are wise notice what is going on around them, and are prepared when an evil or harmful situation is about to occur. Being aware, they can react so as to prevent harm or loss. We should indeed stay alert in every circumstance to what is happening around us.

Sadly, some are overly cautious—even fearful—without any real justification. Consider what we read in Proverbs 26:13, "The lazy man says there is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is loose in the streets." In this case the perceived danger is not real, but is only an excuse for avoiding action and failing to do what needs to be done.

In our present age, there is much to fear. The Bible, however, tells us that if we are first and foremost seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, we should not be fearful (Matthew 6:33). Jesus Christ shared these comforting words with His disciples: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Later on, the Apostle John was inspired to write, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18).

So, while we should always remain alert to the "bears" we may encounter in our lives, we should not be fearful, as long as we look daily to our Heavenly Father for protection and peace of mind while we do our part to live as He would have us live.

Our booklet The Ten Commandments, available free of charge, is an excellent guide to practicing God’s way of life. You can order your own free printed copy, download it or read it online.

  Originally Published: 30th July 2011