When you’re going on a bear hunt
Sitting “criss cross, applesauce” in a circle around her, Auntie would pull us right in. Eyes wide, she’d begin, “We’re going on a bear hunt.” And eyes wide, we’d repeat it back, hands slapping thighs in time with words’ rhythm. Line by line, the anticipation would build all the way to the end. All the way to–the bear!
I’d forgotten about the story until yesterday. It was a Sunday School teacher that brought it up, and it got this girl to thinkin’.
“A river. A deep, cold river. We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We’ve gotta go through it (Michael Rosen).” A river, flooding, with no way around.
It reminded me, that bear hunt did, of a certain river I’d once faced. A Thing. A Very Hard Thing for which there was no bridge over, there was no tunnel under and for which there was no bypass around. The only way, then, was right straight through, and my flesh rebelled and quivered and screamed, demanding the “over.”
I wanted the “over” that never came, and so I did all that there was to do. I went through it. And I found, there in that “through,” that Father God was sweeter than I’d known, that He was more of a Father than I’d ever known and that there was much more good that could come in a “through” than I’d ever known.
Then came a Very, Very, Very Hard Thing. Oh, for this, I wanted the shortest shortcut that ever there was. The fastest autobahn that ever there was. The quickest bypass that ever there was, but again, there was just one way across. And that was through.
Through and through and through the furnace I’ve walked. And slowly, but surely and surely and surely, it came. Peace. Joy. Freedom. Victory. Happiness and life abundant such as I’d never experienced before. There in the fire with flames still rising hot, I found myself saying one day with my mouth, “Thank You for this hard, hard thing, for You’ve broken me free from so much stuff. You’ve done such a work in me. Oh, thank You! Thank You.”
That’s how to become a Fire Walker. This is how you walk through the fire without being consumed. That’s how you get through a flood, unharmed. When you set your face like a flint, determined to trust, and you go through that thing one step at a time, you will not be burned. You will not drown, for the God of the Through attends.
“We’re going on a bear hunt. Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it. We’ve gotta go through it.”