So how many times have we asked for something we really wanted and then were surprised at the answer? Check out my friend Jan’s story!
Earlier this fall, I left for a 10-day solo drive through the Pacific Northwest to fish four states. (My life goal is to fish all 50 states.) My plans included spending the first 3 days in a remote cabin in the north woods, seeking answers from God’s Word for some challenges I was facing. I had hoped to spend time reading, hiking, and praying…just me and God.
I desperately needed alone time with Him. My stress level was very high and I needed some answers to decisions I needed to make. This was the perfect spot…no tv, no radio, no phone, no neighbors. Just me and God in the beautiful northern mountains. A small creek ran behind my cabin and the owner of the property had told me it was a beautiful place to sit and pray. He also told me that wildlife sightings were rare, which was a disappointment to me, because I have long wanted to see bear or moose in the wild. Nevertheless, the beauty of this place was perfect for a retreat.
Upon waking the first morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and a breakfast bar and sat down with my Bible and journal. As was my practice, I jotted down five questions that related to the stress I was going through. As I have often done in the past, I had planned to open my Bible and begin to read, writing down any verses that stood out to me and compare them with the questions that were listed. God so often has spoken to me through this ritual and I was both excited and afraid to see the answers He would give me.
And then, feeling a little silly, I wrote down a sixth question: Lord, would you allow me to see a moose or a bear? I felt foolish, as this request was certainly frivolous compared to the heavy-weighted issues that were reflected in the first five questions. As I began to settle in and read, I felt compelled to once again go outside to take a stroll in the mountain air before digging deep into God’s Word.
I opened the door, stepped outside, breathed in deeply and with a smile stepped off the porch to walk with my Savior in the beauty of His creation. I sensed a movement and stopped quickly. My jaw dropped– there was a bear in the yard! Not real close, but close enough that I could see the color of his snout. I backed up quietly and slowly into the safety (can bears break down doors?) of my cabin. Within seconds I was trying to plan an escape route if Mr. Bear should decide to come calling at my cabin window in search of the food I was sure he could smell.
I was both scared of the bear and in awe of the bear. This beautiful black creature was bear-ing the message that God would answer even my frivolous request…that He cared about the simple things in my life and that He cared enough to manifest His love and concern through His creation! If He was gracious enough to do that, He would certainly provide the direction for me in the deeper issues that were recorded on that page.
Needless to say, I had plenty of time to study. I had no courage (and too little faith) to go outside for a walk or sit by the stream. The bear remained all day, keeping me captive in that one-room cabin. It was what I needed to focus on the verses surrounding part of Moses’ life through which I received the answers to my previous five questions. Not only did I receive the answers, but question by question, I could embrace His answers, stand on His answers, and take confidence in His answers… all because of a bear.