During my Environmental Science class my senior year of high school, our teacher decided to deviate from the previously established curriculum to get us involved in a unit on the Alaskan wilderness. I do not know if my teacher intended to take a trip there, or if he had recently returned from a trip there, or how such a unit would be of any relevance to my development as a young adult from Minnesota, but my science teacher didn’t exactly teach inside the lines anyway, so we went with it.
One of the first issues to be tackled was how to survive in the Alaskan wilderness, and of course, at the top of this list was the most important of survival tips, defending oneself against the Alaskan Grizzly. We were given a hand-out of steps an individual should take if ever confronted by a Grizzly. At the top of the list were two words.
Actually, what the sheet really read was, “STAY CLAM”, but since I wasn’t familiar with the behavioral aspects of a clam’s existence, I assumed what the teacher was trying to tell us was that we should stay calm.
Personally, I found this to be ridiculous advice. If I was ever going to be faced with a nine foot, two thousand pound mother bear who feels her offspring have been threatened by my mere presence, I was going to have a hugely difficult time staying calm. I figured I’d be much better off screaming, wetting myself, and just getting the heck out of there. So much for staying calm. It’s a nice sentiment, but I’d like to meet the person who could actually put it into action.
Our teacher explained that if you can stay calm in such a situation; if you don’t panic, completely lose it and start freaking out, you’ll be able to think much more clearly and are more likely to escape the situation alive.
This was wise advice indeed. In fact, this odd little tidbit of information has stuck with me all these years. Of all the information I could have taken away from my high school education, the piece I keep with me are those two little words.
It could be an excellent reminder in my daily life, if I could just remember it. When someone cuts me off on the freeway, when someone offends me, when I’ve taken on much more than I can handle, the last thing I think about are those two little words. But maybe I should.
Especially when I’m faced with an enormous, snarling, snapping, threatening, giant bear who goes by the name of Satan.
Let’s face it. As Christians, we come under constant attacks from the enemy. Sometimes they’re subtle, other times he likes to play hard ball. But when those attacks begin, our last instinct is to stay calm. What we normally end up doing is running away in fear, shrieking, “Oh, my heavens! We’re all gonna die! What are we gonna do now?!” We allow Satan to steal our joy, steal our peace, and take advantage of all that God has given us as children of the King.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
If we can remember that the Lord is bigger than any of Satan’s attacks, we can maintain our joy, maintain our peace, and tell Satan just exactly where he can take his scare tactics.
We, as children of the King, have a new inheritance in Christ Jesus. Part of that inheritance includes a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. We need not panic when we’re under attack. It just gets us into more trouble. And why should we allow Satan to do that to us? Our father is bigger and greater and mightier than that nasty ol’ bear. He can snarl and snap and charge at us all he wants. It’s not going to get him anywhere with us. And how delightful it is to watch him slink away, defeated, knowing he can’t get to us.
But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26 NKJV
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