Above: Cohen and Titus peering into a bear cave
School started recently, and I needed to get one more hike in with the two older Yada Hoodies. Our hiking careers have been put on hold for the last year and a half.
I planned a hike that went up into some hills with lots of bluffs and rock outcroppings with indentations that look like caves. They don’t go back very far, but from the outside, they are impressive. Ever since Titus was 4 years old, he has thought these indentions in the rocks were bear caves.
Early on, I taught him that bears don’t like loud noises, so he brought one of those rachet-type toys that make an awful racket when twirled. Then my friend and hiking partner, Roger Larkey, took a vacation to Alaska where he bought me a bear bell.
In case you don’t know about bear bells, every time you take a step, they jingle. To a bear, it sounds like the Salvation Army bell ringers are on their way. The noise of the bells warns the bears of your arrival.
Park rangers teach that if you’re out hiking in the woods and come upon some bear droppings, take a stick and stir them around, examining the contents. If you see fresh berries, you’re OK. If you see fresh berries mixed with little bells, run back to the car as fast as you can.
This was Cohen the Goodhearted’s first time to explore and see the pretend bear caves. Of course, Titus the Honorable, now age 7, has told his little brother about these caves and that he doesn’t need to worry. Being a world-class tour guide, he makes a big deal about the bears and tells Cohen that they are in the back of the cave, fast asleep.
“But Poppy will hike with his bear bells attached to his backpack, and as long as you can hear the bells jingle, we are safe,” Titus said.
Because of their knowledge and trust in Poppy and his bear bells, the boys hike, play and enjoy the journey without fear or worry. They have freedom to get the most out of our hike.
As an adult, I understand this freedom in a different way. I wake up knowing the dangers the world poses. If I let my mind meditate on all the things that can go wrong, I walk in fear and bondage to these thoughts. But God has his own bear bells in His Word, the Bible. Jesus taught us, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31- 32, ESV).
When you have the truth hidden in your heart, and you come into a situation that causes you to fear, the Holy Spirit will ring that truth by bringing Scripture to your mind. You will have knowledge of the truth, and it will remind you of the One who holds that truth.
From Genesis to Revelation, these truths ring out. In Genesis 15:1 when God was calling Abram to become Abraham, He gave him some reassurance in the form of a truth: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward” (Gen. 15:1, NIV). Abram could now walk with the knowledge of peace.
God’s truths continue to ring throughout the pages of His holy Scriptures. In the book of Revelation, John was confronted by the resurrected Jesus Christ. He writes, “When I saw Him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then He placed His right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last’” (Rev. 1:17). And John could walk with the knowledge of peace.
God has given you truths to hide in your heart when you come into situations that cause you stress. It could be a diagnosis of cancer, relationship problems, mounting bills causing financial stress, job loss, struggling with an addiction or a number of other issues.
Ask God to show you a truth in the Bible that applies to your situation. Memorize it, meditate upon it, quote it out loud and share it with others. Soon you will hear that truth ringing in your ears like bear bells, for the lies of Satan cannot stand the truth of the Scriptures.
When you have trust in Jesus and a knowledge of His Word, His truth will ring daily in your life, and you will have freedom to enjoy the day.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).