I bought a can of bear spray on the weekend. It’s something I really didn’t want to do, because I don’t like carrying bear spray. I think it gives people a false sense of security. I would rather be proactive, careful to avoid bears as I hike, making lots of noise so the bear knows I am coming and moves off the trail. Why buy the spray? Sandra and I are volunteers in the National Parks for a few weeks in the summer and they like us to carry bear spray.
I have hiked my whole life and only had face to face chats with a few bears, some black some grizzly. We have had short but nice conversations, the bears and I both moving away from each other. The bears usually move away very quickly because they like us even less than we like them. I’ve had these brief conversations with bears when I have not being doing what I should do when hiking. What I should do, and almost always do, is talk, sing, make noise, all of which alert bears to my presence and gives them lots of time to get off the trail. Being proactive is a lot safer than being reactive. It is far better to let bears know you are coming and get out of your way, rather than have to react to an encounter because you surprised them. Much of life is similar. We can choose to be proactive and avoid problems and trouble, or let the problems come and then react to them. As we go through life we can be aware of things around us, think of possible problems and plan to minimize their possibility of happening, or we can just blindly walk through life and react to whatever happens. Proactive people tend to get more done, have far fewer problems and generally enjoy life. Bear spray? A reactive solution that can cause you problems, or death, because you should have worked harder at not meeting the bear in the first place.
There is an even more important proactive step each of us needs to take. One day all of us will die and will meet our Creator and Judge. The only way to make sure that encounter is a nice conversation is to be ready to meet God. We do that by asking Jesus to forgive our sins and be our Saviour. That gives us forgiveness of our disobedience to God, puts us in relationship with Him and provides entrance into heaven. For bears there is a reactive solution called bear spray which sometimes is effective. There is no reactive solution to getting into heaven. You have to make that decision before you enter eternity.