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Man survives bear attack in his kitchen: How to fight your “bears” in faith

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Man survives bear attack in his kitchen: How to fight your “bears” in faith
Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers debrief after successfully tracking and euthanizing a bear at an abandoned mine Friday, July 10, 2020 in Aspen, Colo. An Aspen-area homeowner is undergoing surgery after being attacked early Friday morning by a bear that broke into his house through the front door, according to officials with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife department. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times via AP)

Dave Chernosky heard a commotion early Friday morning in the Aspen, Colorado, house where he’s staying with his twelve-year-old twins. “I laid in bed thinking, ‘I really hope this isn’t a bear,” he told CNN. “I figured it probably was, but I was sure hoping for something else once I got into the kitchen.”

It turned out, his worst fears were fact. The large black bear, estimated at four hundred pounds, was standing at the refrigerator when he entered the kitchen. The animal had opened drawers and cabinets and thrown stuff around the room.

Chernosky was able to keep the kitchen island between them as he tried to coax the bear into the garage to get it outside the house. His plan worked, but the bear became spooked when Chernosky hit the garage door opener and came back into the house. Chernosky was worried that it would head downstairs where his kids were sleeping.

That’s when he encountered the bear face-to-face. “We looked at each other, and he just smacked me in the side of the head and spun me around and got me again on the back,” he said. “I literally heard it crack on my head. A bear paw is not soft and cushy.”

Despite his injuries, he was able to scramble away and scream at the bear to leave. “Fortunately, he was done at that point and just left,” he said.

Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife were able to find the bear and euthanize it. “We never like to have to put an animal down, but the protection of the public is paramount once a bear begins entering homes and responding aggressively toward people,” an official explained.

Chernosky said he feels fortunate as he recovers from his wounds. He added that doctors told him the bear’s claws just missed his eye and carotid artery.

How to fight your “bears” in faith

When David sought to persuade Saul to allow him fight Goliath, he said: “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down and killed both lions and bears” (1 Samuel 17:34–36).

What was his secret to defeating such predators? David testified, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). But this fact did not mean that he would not face challenges, as the next verse notes: “When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall” (v. 2). Note that the verse begins not with “if” but with “when.”

In these pandemic days, we seem to be surrounded by bears on every side. Name yours. Ask God to be your “stronghold” in this struggle. Expect to be attacked, but also expect to have your Father’s provision and power.

And know that whatever happens, you will be able to say with David, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” (v. 13).

Why is this assurance relevant to you today?