My youngest daughter was eight when my family and I found ourselves in the path of a bear at close range on the trail. (Read more here.) As kids are prone to do, her response to learning there was a bear heading down the trail in our direction was to make an announcement: “There’s a bear? I’m gonna run!”
And this is precisely what she set out to do, but since she had made her intentions known, I had time to reach out, put my hand on her shoulder, and let her know that we would be walking, not running, from the bear—together. Here’s the thing about animals that hunt for their daily bread: when you run, you look like something they should chase.
Do Not Run
I speak from experience. Of the five instructions on the Bear Attack: Are you prepared to avoid one? sign, this one is the most difficult. Walking at a measured pace knowing that a bear was not only behind us, but getting closer to us with each of his long, more-suited-to-the-terrain strides was an exercise in self-control.
It’s true on the trail and it’s true in life.
That day in Yellowstone my family was hiking in bear country. Every day you and I are walking in lion territory. He’s prowling, looking for someone to devour. If we’re going to stand firm, we need to be aware of where we are and what we’re up against so we can be prepared to hold our ground. Our ground is Christ—the finished work of Christ, Christ in us, Christ interceding for us. There’s no need to run because there’s no better ground and no safer place.
After years of walking with Jesus, Peter knew this. The man who started out walking on the surface of the water sank when his mind wandered away from the fact that Jesus was right there with him, doing the same thing. When Peter says to “prepare your mind for action, keep sober in spirit, set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13), he knows what he’s talking about. He’s experienced the dangers of a mind that is not prepared to look beyond the situation to the presence of Jesus in the situation.
Peter was not unique in this. I struggle with the same thing. Maybe you do, too.
There’s good news. Faith is a journey, not an arrival. How we dealt with yesterday’s big and little situations does not dictate how we will deal with tomorrow’s. We walk by faith and walking requires steps—steps that strengthen and prepare us to grow in the strength and knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is what it is to navigate by faith–making our way through the circumstances of our life–one step at a time.
If you’d like to focus on being spiritually prepared, I made a pdf printable just for you. Click here for access.
🧭 Ponder this: How are you preparing yourself to look beyond your situation to the presence of Jesus in your situation? This is the sixth post in the Are You Prepared? series. Click to read parts one, two, three, four, and five.
take heart & happy trails ~ Natalie 🥾