Posted by: peebles | May 6, 2013

1 Samuel 17:37 (NIV) The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me.

It was just one of those nights the air was very muggy I had not slept due to the intense heat; I rolled over in bed to face the clock it seemed for the umpteenth time, as I looked at the numbers on it, they shone dimly and showed the time to be 03:25am. Half alive I dragged my weary body out of bed, got washed and changed and then went down stairs. My camouflage jacket was draped over the kitchen chair, I put it on and decided to go for walk through forest which is at the edge of my property. I checked my wrist watch just before I opened the back door; it was 03:58am exactly. As I opened the back door which looks onto the forest that is approximately 30 yards from my door, the sheer heat and stifling sticky air swept on my face, for the briefest of moments I almost wanted to just close to the door, turn back and go inside and try to get some sleep on the couch in the living room. However, I look at the sky and saw that last remains of the night were fading as the Sun was beginning to rise over the horizon. Over the top of the forest was this covering of fog, which settled just above the tree tops, so I closed the back door behind me and strolled towards the forest.

There was a unique taste to the air as I walked closer to the entrance of the forest, it was clean, crisp, and fresh, the grass beneath my feet was wet with dew, and you could hear the swish of my footsteps as I walked forward. From the corner of my eye up on top of one of the branches I spotted a bird perched on one of large pine trees, from the distance it looked like a Red Cardinal. It looked towards the Sun and breathed in as if to fill it tiny lungs with the fresh air before letting out a song of amazing praise which brought the forest to life. This little bird was like a conductor facing the forest, like a musical conductor faces the orchestra waving his baton and giving the queue to begin a beautiful symphony of sweetest praise. The forest has a language all its own, so unique only those who dwell there will ever truly understand.

As I entered through the bushes of the tress into the forest from the breaking of the day from my garden, I enter into a world where thick darkness fills the way in front of me. Each branch it still wet with fresh water, and the smell is so rich, filled with a ,mixture of flowers, leaves and different animal scents. I am too busy looking all around to notice a dry broken piece of twig underneath my feet as I step on it the sound of the twig cracking and snapping under the weight of my body, brings a sudden silence in the forest as if every living creature has stopped in their tracks. The animals prick up their ears in high alert, eyes quickly glancing all around to survey their surroundings to see if the coast is clear of danger, momentarily the forest holds its breath.

Suddenly I become aware that I am not alone on my morning walk through this dense thick forest as the curious eyes of every bird, every animal that climbs tress, walks and crawls on the forest ground are staring at me.

Once again I look at my wrist watch, it is now 04:43am, and the time has just flown by as I go deeper and deeper into the Allegany National forest. Just ahead of me is a small clearing; I can hear the sound of water from a stream flowing down from the hill that leads up to the top of the mountain. Like an oasis in a desert, a place of paradise for those who dwell here. Just before I bend down to drink from its fresh flowing ice cold waters, from the corner of my eye I see a young (fawn) deer about ten feet away from me, it has not smelt my scent or even noticed me, I slowly crouch low and peer behind the tree at my right hand side, my heart is racing, as I slow down my breathing and stay as still and as quiet as possible, watching this young fawn lean down towards the stream with its legs anchored like a support as it dips its graceful head towards the water. I can even hear the sound of it lapping up the cool water and drinking as much as it can with its tongue, totally unaware of me watching it. Such a sweet moment of innocence and beauty savoured, etched in my mind, caught like picture from a camera, a memory to share with my children in the years to come.

Suddenly there is the sound of the bushes rustling, it causes the young fawn to spring up straight, with its ears standing to attention, it then darts into the thick forest and is gone. There is now an uneasy silence that grips the forest, almost an eerie feeling, I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and an uncomfortable, horrible, scary sense grips my whole body. I have become aware that now I am the one being watched, in a frantic attempt to find a safe place; just above me there is a large rock-face it must be about twenty feet high, the roots of the near by trees have over the years wrapped themselves around it, quickly I climb up as high as I can and lay down on the ground with my whole body as flat as I can on top of the rock-face, with only my eyes looking over the edge to find out what is about to happen, I did not have wait anymore than a few minutes. No wonder the young fawn ran, for there below me is a Black Bear approaching the stream from the opposite side of the waters, it is the biggest Black Bear I have ever seen, easily over 450 to 500 pounds in weight. Where it came from I have no idea, as it did not make a sound while it slowly walked towards the stream, sniffing the air and looking from left to right, sniffing, with its head tilted high. I dare not move a muscle, or even breathe; I try and press my body closer to the rock-face and lower my head, never taking my gaze off the Bear.

Under my breath I began praying to God while watching this awesome creature walk around the rock-face beneath me sniffing and growling. I said, “Lord I remember your word says this in 1 Samuel 17:37 (NIV) The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me. Lord deliver me from the paw of this Bear.” I honestly don’t know how long the Bear did that for, but it seemed like longest time, then it went to the stream and drank some water and slowly moved away into the direction it came from, still sniffing the air with its nostrils, every breath it took looked like smoke coming from it nose and mouth, like a dragon ready to breath out fire and consume its prey. I stayed up there for a long time, my eyes anxiously looking down hoping the coast was clear. Little by little I very carefully descend, but at the last movement I slipped and crash was on the ground, “ouch!” I let out a cry, as I went over on my ankle and cut my leg on a ragged rock near to the bottom of the ground which I had not notice as I started to climb it earlier. I crouch like wounded animal in the forest looking all around for danger, holding my ankle that is beginning to throb and trying to wipe away the blood from my leg, as I hobble and make my way back towards the opening, my heart racing and the nervous sweat pouring down my back and from the brow of my head. I must have stood on every dry twig, the sound of them sent an echo all around the forest to give away my location. With each step I take I am constantly looking behind me, and then I hear the growling of a Black Bear, it has caught my scent and am being followed; now this morning’s walk has turned into a survival race to get home. The Black Bear is hunting me down like a prey, the chase is on.

About twenty feet away I can now see the forest opening where I entered earlier for what I thought was leisurely morning stroll, but has now turned into a race for my life. I frantically scramble out of the forest and limp towards my house, I can hear the Black Bear getting closer, as I look behind to see how close the animal is getting; I trip over my feet and fall. But some how managed to get back up immediately, I felt someone grab me from behind, it felt like two hands pulling at my jacket to lift me on my feet again, when I got up I looked around to see who it was that helped me to my feet but there was no one there. Hobbling towards the back door, my heart is beating so fast I can hardly catch my breath, with my mouth so dry. I race inside and bolt the door behind me, then look in panic through the kitchen window towards the forest to see lurking at the entrance of the opening of the forest the frame of the Black Bear as it stands up on its hind legs in an aggressive menacing manner, it must have be well over eight feet tall as it lets out a growl that sends shivers down the back of my spine, it then runs like a huge stream engine in full flow hurtling towards my back yard from the forest. I cry out to God yet again and say, “Lord I remember your word says this in 1 Samuel 17:37 (NIV) The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me. Lord deliver me from the paw of this Bear.” Suddenly the Black Bear smashes into what appears to be an invisible wall and comes crashing to a halt, an immediate full stop, and gives out this horrible yelp as if struck by something to prevent it from going any farther. Then slowly, with its head bowed down and still whining in sever pain it goes back to its all fours and turns towards the forest and is gone.

Nervously I look towards my wrist watch; my hand is still shaking as the time is now 07:16am and I am grateful to be not only half alive but fully alive, with the adrenalin still pumping through my body I am now very much wide awake and thankful to God that I am still alive. This verse of Scripture has never had such a living and powerful impact in my life as it has had today, 1 Samuel 17:37 (NIV) The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me.

God bless you my friend, Matthew.


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