To my dear grandchildren,
The Tough Grizzly
"David said . . . there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of [my father's]flock: and I went out . . . and . . . slew both the lion and the bear."
(1 Samuel 17:34-36)
What a good shepherd David was to risk his life for a lamb! This reminds us of the Lord Jesus who said, "I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep (John 10:11). David was not killed, but the Lord Jesus willingly gave His life for His sheep.
An 800-pound, 8-foot grizzly bear is a vicious animal. It is found in the western United States and Canada, up to Alaska. Its large body and head, 6 inch claws on strong legs, and sharp teeth all make it a fearsome animal. However, it does not start life that way. Born while its mother is hibernating, it weighs less than a pound and is hairless and blind. Two or three months later it will be the size of a raccoon. By summer's end, it will be about as big as a collie dog.
Cubs are full of fun. They wrestle with each other, slide in the snow and climb slender trees until they bend or break with their weight. But it is not only cubs that like to play. Adult grizzlies will also slide down snow slopes, then climb back up and slide down again. They will tumble and roll down grassy hillsides the same way.
By the end of summer, the grizzlies are fat and lazy, but not too lazy to prepare dens in rocky hillsides or under roots of big trees. There they make beds of soft tree branches and some will line their dens with grass. All grizzlies in a given area enter their dens on the same day, and all dens face north. These are God-given instincts. He knows just when they should go into hibernation. He also knows that before winter is actually over there will be short warm spells, causing the snow on southern slopes to melt a little. A bear waking and hearing this trickle of water would leave its den before food is available. The short warm spells do not affect the cold northern slopes, and the bears remain undisturbed. How wisely the Creator takes care of even grizzlies!
Waking after five months' sleep, thin and hungry, they immediately search for food. This first meal might be a large animal that died during the winter, its body preserved by the cold, or small rodents, fish, ants and berries. Cow parsnips are a favorite, and hikers are warned to stay away from mountain slopes where these grow, because grizzles do not like intruders!
The Lord Jesus, as Creator, never neglects any of His creatures. But his special care over humans includes this promise to those who love Him: "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish" (John 10:28).