We're going on a bear hunt.
We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We're not scared.
Long, wavy grass.
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
We've got to go through it!
(excerpt from We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury)
In this children's picture storybook, a family starts out on an adventure -- a bear hunt -- on a sunny, happy day. They have big dreams, no fear, and they just know that they're going to catch a big one! Again and again the family hits roadblocks like long, wavy grass and a deep, cold river, that might prevent them from their mission, but together they carry on and go through them all.
Isn't this exactly how Life is?
We plan our days. We make our lists. We gather our supplies. We make the necessary arrangements, and we're off to "Catch a Bear!" (What a beautiful day! We're not scared.) And what happens next? The phone rings and there's bad news. The box on the truck is smashed by a deer running across the highway (no one is hurt). Mold is found creeping up the walls at my daughter & son-in-love's rental home. Some of the livestock is sick, very sick. The waterline is broken and must be dug up and replaced and the high temperature for the coming days will be just 15*. The dollar is worth 20% less today than in March. The war in Afghanistan is a war of beliefs -- is it winnable? The bills come in. The taxes will be due. Christmas is around the corner. It's supposed to be a peaceful, joyous time. I have to keep pushing the creative things I want to do to the back burner. On and on it goes.
Well..... we can't go over it. We can't go under it. We've got to go through it! All of it! Swishy swashy, swishy swashy, swishy swashy, through the tall grass that seems so impassable. And then there's the big, dark forest to traipse through.....stumble trip, stumble trip, stumble trip! Once we're through that there comes a swirling, whirling snowstorm.... Hooo woooo, hooo woooo, hooo woooo! What ever happened to our exclamation in the beginning? "What a beautiful day!"
I can't tell you how many times in the past few weeks and days this little book has come to mind. For such a simple storyline, it has a lot of wisdom packed between the pages. The theme, "We've got to go through it," rings so true for me and my family, and I know that eventually we will come out on the other side of the trial we're in at the moment. We may be dirty, muddy, tired and cold, but we will get through it. In the meantime we must hang onto one another, we must help and encourage each other, we must go through the "It" together and trust God until we get to the other side. Jesus promised us that there would be wars and rumors of war, that there would be famine and earthquakes and tribulations of all kinds (like moldy walls and spoiled Christmas presents) but He also promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you," and that is a promise that we can cling to.
And now for a little quiet time by the fire writing Christmas cards.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel.
Medieval stained glass at Salisbury Cathedral, UK