And David said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." .... 1 Samuel 17:37a
A black bear went walking into a bar ....
Now I know that sounds like an old joke, but it's true. Recently, a black bear did walk into Lonigan's Bar in Estes Park, Colorado. Would you like to know how the patrons of Lonigan's reacted to the intrusion?
I can tell you. They had no reaction at all. None. Zero. Zip. Nothing. They were so busy, they didn't notice the bear in their midst.
Amazing? It get's even more so. You see Estes Park resident Daniel Lyell saw the bear wander into the community watering hole. Lyell followed, albeit at a safe distance. When he got to the door of Lonigan's, he called out, "Bear!" People ignored him. He screamed, "Bear!" and nobody paid any attention.
Nobody, that is, except for the bear.
The bear, having wandered up and down the aisles, and without bothering anyone, merely ambled out and away. The only proof of his ever having been in the bar was Lonigan's security camera, which recorded the entire visit.
That story amazed me. Those people were in danger. Indeed, danger was in their midst. They could have been mauled, clawed or mangled. But none of those nasty things happened. Just as the Lord delivered King David from the paw of the bear, He delivered the patrons of Lonigan's.
The only difference is this: King David gave the Lord credit for his protection and the people of Lonigan's, well, they never even recognized they had been in danger.
It is a scenario which is repeated a million times a day.
Awake or asleep, actively or passively, both seen and unknown all of us are surrounded by dangers.
The great difference is Christians give thanks to the Lord for His ongoing protection while the people of this world merely assume that safety, health and well-being are the normal state of things.
A sinful world is going to produce pains and problems. Indeed, nobody -- not even Christians -- can expect we will always escape such difficulties.
What we can do is give thanks that the Lord can deliver us. He who sacrificed His own Son to save us from the condemnation of sin and the horror of death, can and will keep us safe. While danger may come our way, we can remain confident our loving Lord will bring us through those dangers.
That is, after all, what God meant when He said, "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15). So, my friends, give thanks for God's gracious protection. After all, you never know when a bear is going to walk into a bar.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I may never have been delivered from the paw of a real lion or an actual bear. Even so, You continue to protect me from all kinds of dangers. May I be grateful for such benevolence. In the Name of the Redeemer I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries