I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
I worked 2 summers in Yellowstone National Park and I watched many times as a baby bear cub played happily and a tourist started to get close to take a picture. I always cringed and shouted, “Hey!! Back up!! Mama bear is close by!” Sometimes they heeded my words and when mama showed up, there was nervousness (from everyone), but she quietly collected her cubs and left.
But there was that one time, when that person kept inching closer and mama bear arrived ready to fight. Thankfully, nothing horrible came of it, but I’ll never forget the way mama bear looked that day. Her eyes were wide, her mouth open, fur on her back bristled, and the concentration? Fierce. She was ready to take that guy down, and fast.
As parents, the same can happen to us. Our alarms go off from time to time when questionable things happen with our kids and sometimes, when a real attack rears its ugly head, we bristle, tighten our fists, ready for a fight.
When Naomi was in Kindergarten, I thought, “What could possibly happen?” because apparently I forgot what kids are like once they start talking.
She quickly excelled, was given special tasks, and was made a leader. She taught others what she was learning and it was well received by the other kids – except for one. Yup, one girl who was none too thrilled that Naomi was special. And she reacted. Naomi came home more than once confused and one time in tears because the girl teased her and never had a kind word for her, even yelled at her more than once.
My first reaction? Bristle. I could feel it coming, the readiness to fight. I didn’t want to fight that little girl, but I was ready to confront the teacher with the issue and the parent of that kid. But, I’m glad to say, I remembered how I’m supposed to react. I took a minute to digest and remember that while this was small, it still required a holy response.
The Bible clearly shows us what to do in times of attack:
- Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; protect me from those who rise up against me; deliver me from those who work evil, and save me from bloodthirsty men. Psalm 59:1-2
- I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 57:9-10
Naomi and I talked about how her classmate was probably jealous of the attention she was getting. And while her motivations didn’t make her actions okay, it made it easier for Naomi (and me) to calm down a bit. And then we prayed.
We prayed for the classmate’s heart and we prayed that God would protect Naomi as He saw fit. We talked about how good God is. He put these words in the Bible to give us a real example through David of what to do when attacked in both big and small ways.
That little 5 year old’s jealousy didn’t have much lasting effect, but it was still doing damage. It was still an attack. And these small attacks are practice for what is guaranteed in the future — troubles.Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Her troubles are fairly light right now in her 1st grade life, and it’d be easier (yet not helpful) for them to stay that way, but it’s been guaranteed that they won’t. There will come a time when confrontation is needed and we are called to act (prayerfully), but these verses will still apply. God uses these small tribulations to prep her for the big stuff to come.
Oh, yeah, and prep me too, because heaven knows I still need it.
A Prayer for When Mama Bear Shows Up:
“Dear God, it is so easy to get riled up, to get defensive, to be ready to pounce. Please up us help our girls learn to rest in You amidst all things and listen for Your guidance. You will be our refuge always and deserve all the glory for it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
This post originally was published on the Prayers for Girls Blog