My family and I visited Yellowstone National Park several years ago. I remember clearly the signs warning visitors that the wildlife are just that.
Last week, two guests learned this fact personally.
A clip that has racked up nearly 300,000 views on YouTube shows what happened: a bison charged the two, who turned and began running for their lives. Then one of them tripped and fell onto the grass.
Bystanders began screaming in terror as the bison continued charging toward the guest lying flat on the ground. Those watching yelled at her to “play dead.” That’s just what she did as the bison approached her, sniffed her for several seconds, then turned and trotted off.
The woman then got up and walked away with her friend. She did not appear to be injured.
The park website states, “Bison have injured more people in Yellowstone than any other animal.” It warns that all guests should stay at least twenty-five yards from the animal, which can run three times faster than humans.
Two relevant reminders
Two reminders seem relevant.
One: Our physical frailty is cause for humility and dependence on our Creator.
Scripture asks us, “What is your life?” Then it answers: “You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Despite the fact that our culture is wealthier and more advanced than any in human history, any of us can fall victim to the “bisons” of life. From COVID-19 to accidents on the freeway to the violence that plagues our society, none of us is promised tomorrow.
Recognizing our finitude is God’s invitation to trust his infinite power and provision.
Two: While nature is more powerful than we are, we will outlive nature.
Blaise Pascal said of us: “Man is but a reed, the weakest thing in nature. but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. . . . But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be nobler than that which killed him. . . . By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.”
Ten thousand millennia after bison are gone and Yellowstone National Park is no more, eternity will only have begun.
Recognizing our eternal nature is God’s invitation to live in this world for what matters most in the next.
Who are your “bisons” today?