Black bear

Photo by Tim Christie

I enjoy the beautiful, award-winning photography of Idaho photographer Tim Christie. He has a way of capturing the outdoors on film that truly honors and glorifies the Creator. Of course, capturing these shots can be quite an adventure… sometimes more than he bargained for.

During one of his spring safaris in Glacier Park, Tim noticed a few whitetail deer casually feeding along the roadway. Grabbing his camera, Tim quietly slid out of his truck. The deer continued to feed into the woods with Tim in gentle pursuit, snapping pictures. Eventually, through his viewfinder, he noticed a deer suddenly startle. As the deer scampered off, Tim heard a branch snap in the woods behind him. He turned to see a large sow black bear, making her way towards him.

Considering taking a picture of this bear, he suddenly became aware of two bear cubs to his right. The situation became clear to him; this mama bear was in no mood for a casual photo shoot. She was doing what comes naturally to any mother, protecting her young.

Tim dropped his camera and ran to the nearest tree. As he began to climb the tree the bear came after him, popping its jaws and growling like a wounded hound. Tim and the bear kept climbing higher in the tree, when at last the bear grabbed his foot. Its sharp teeth pierced the sole of Tim’s tennis shoe like a hot knife going through butter. The bear pulled and tugged at Tim’s foot with no regard for Tim’s shouts. “It seemed like we were having a tug of war to see who would end up with my leg,” he recalled. Suddenly, the shoe released from his foot, and the bear dropped from the tree, hitting the ground with a thud.

Tim continued his climb as the mother bear growled and roared with disdain. After an angry fit, the bear rejoined her cubs and disappeared in the woods. Tim waited in the tree for two hours, climbed down, pulled his sneaker on, snatched up his camera and dashed back to the truck.

Whether we’re outdoorsmen or couch-potatoes, everyone faces trials in life. When troubles come our way, the Lord asks us to do two things: trust and endure. Too many times, when we face problems, we scramble, trying every which way we can to fix it. Then, when all else fails, we pray. God asks us to come to Him first. We are to trust in His Word and His promises.

Next, we are to endure. When we lean on God through trying times, He will strengthen us. His Word is full of encouragement, reminding us of the hostility Jesus endured so that we would not give up.

The next time you’re “stuck up a tree,” don’t give in, don’t give up, and don’t look down! Cry out to Jesus. God’s loving hand will reach down and either remove the trial or carry you through it.

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:2–3

Personal Application

What trials are you currently facing? What Scriptures encourage you through them?

Prepare for suffering and trials by continually trusting the Lord and claiming His promises.

Jim Grassi image and signature  Jim Grassi, D. Min.

We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5