An Alaskan Christmas Eve Story – Part 3

Grisley Bear

Hannah stared at the enraged grizzly bear, as he continued to charge at the river and sway back and forth. She couldn’t even move she was so scared, she just whispered under her breath,” Jesus, Jesus, help me.” As she realized the bear was not going to attempt to cross the river, she began to slowly back away, until she was out of sight and then she turned and ran. Sweat dripped from her throbbing forehead, and her leg muscles began to cramp, before she slowed her headlong sprint into the woods. She leaned over, placing her hands on her knees as she tried to catch her breath.

“What in the world had just happened?” Tears of relief poured down her cheeks as she pictured the crazed bear by the river. She had escaped with her life. She couldn’t help but whisper, “Thank you Lord for saving my life”, because she knew it was a miracle that bear didn’t cross the river and eat her for dinner.

Hannah straightened up and took her bearings as best she could in the light of the moon. She recognized the path she was on, it led back to the park lodge. If she had crossed the river like she wanted to, she would have been going the wrong way. She would have been walking deeper into the woods, away from the park, and away from any hopes of help or rescue. The bear had actually made her change her direction.

“Oh Lord, thank you for that nasty bear!” She never thought she’d be thanking the Lord for a near death experience, but there it was. It was hard to argue with the results. And with those thoughts Hannah remembered the words of the Pastor, for the second time that night.

“God takes the hard things in our lives and turns them to good.”

How could it be true? How could the Lord turn something good out of the death of her parents? She was alone and messed up. She knew she was angry with God and holding on to her grief like a badge of honor. “Was she trying to punish the Lord for her parent’s death?” Maybe she was, she sighed. “Alright, fine!” She stomped her foot, “Tell me Lord, what good has come from such a terrible, senseless tragedy?”

The night lay still, with the blanket of new fallen snow muting the sounds of the forest. Everywhere she looked she saw the beauty of the Alaskan winter. The mountains that stood as sentinels around the city of Anchorage loomed ethereal up close. Towering before her, proclaiming the majesty of God’s creation.

Hannah stood waiting for the Lord to answer her. She looked at the stolen beauty of the night, for she felt she had stolen another day of life, after escaping that huge grizzly bear. Yet, the bear had made her change her direction. Hannah thought about her life that summer before her parents died. She had been making some pretty stupid decisions and she knew that college would have been more of the same. “Where would she be right now if she was still on that path?”

“Maybe she would have been lost?” Her parent’s death had changed the course of her life. She still believed in the Lord and even went to church with her sister and Aunt, but she certainly wasn’t being a very good Christian. “Weren’t Christians supposed to love one another, and show the world who they belonged to by their love?” Well that wasn’t her. Her life was so centered around herself and her anger, she didn’t have any room left to think about other people.

Maybe it was time to let go of her resentment and thank the Lord for saving her from a path that could have led to emptiness and even death. She knew bad things happened to good people. That she lived in a fallen world with death and disease and that the Lord didn’t cause the death of her parents. But she had thought, He could have prevented it, if He really loved her. Maybe He didn’t prevent it because He did really love her?

Hannah sank to knees and cried. She cried for the loss of her parents, she cried for the lost time with her sister and aunt, and she cried for a Heavenly Father that loved her so much He would wake-up an ole grizzly bear to scare the truth into her.

Hannah wiped her eyes as she got to her feet and walked to the edge of the large ravine. She wrapped her arms around herself as she gazed into the great expanse. Suddenly the earth began to give way under her feet, and she found herself tumbling down the side of the precipice.

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