An Unbearable Situation

photo of wet brown grizzly bear sitting
Photo by Brett Sayles on

Here’s a true story to share with your kids … with a great lesson.

The camp we spoke at in Montana is in a valley between Rocky Mountain foothills. The Boulder River runs parallel to the property. To get there you go an hour out of town – to get out, you turn around and go an hour the other way back to town, That’s it. Otherwise you run into mountains,

One year when we were there – the camp had a lot of campers,

And one bear,

The campers were supposed to be there.

The bear wasn’t.

And that was a problem. (By the way, this is NOT a picture of the camp bear – that’s on a video tape somewhere,)

After each meal, the bear would come to the garbage cans and feast even though the camp had followed all regulations in securing the cans. But having a black bear hanging around a camp full of curious campers was not ideal and was making those in charge just a little nervous. No one wanted to tell a parent their child was carried off by a bear. But this was one determined bear,

They called the forest department and got some additional guidelines in getting rid of the intruder.

But that stubborn bear just kept coming back to the trash. Nothing kept him away.

Then the forest department (not sure of their actual title) suggested they vacate the camp of kids – not easy in the middle of the mountains, but one night they sent the counselors down the road with the kids to camp in a public campground.

Back at camp all was quiet.

As instructed by the FD, the camp directors put a tempting meal by the trash can and waited. Of course, the bear could not resist.

We went to bed … but about two o’clock, someone knocked on our door.

“The forest department is here for the bear if you want to watch. They’re up behind the dining hall.”

We did want to watch. How often did we get the opportunity to see a bear get captured in the middle of the Montana woods? So about twenty of us went up to the field behind the dining hall. The moon and stars illuminated the black night and we stood around saying we felt as if we were in a TV show.

The FD truck was on the other side of the field and we could hear the men tramping around. Then we heard cries of “he’s in the tree!”

(Now at this point I would like to add that Ken was taking a video of this – but all you can see is the black night.)

But then the bear got hit with the stun gun (and in Ken’s video, you hear the bear fall out of the tree and hit the ground).

They put the bear in a cart behind their truck and drove it over so we could all see the stunned bear close up. (A rather other-wordly experience,)

They then drove it to a far away mountain out of the sight of dozens of curious kids.

A unforgettable night and experience.

But that bear always reminded me of people. You know, how stubborn we are in returning to the trash of our sin, In fact Peter describes it as a dog returning to it’s vomit or the pig going back to the mud … or the bear going back to the trash. That’s gross for us … and our kids to think about.

Why, when we have a new life in Christ, do we keep going back to the old, putrid stuff?

And like the bear, we return again and again and again …

For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:20-22

What if we wrote down all the joys we have being new creations in Christ? What if we wrote down all the problems we have when we go back to the old, gross stuff?

What if we learned a lesson from the bear who was captured and taken away?

What if we stayed away from the trash and taught out kids to do so too?

That would make life so much more “bearable.”

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