During a short weekend trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, my hubby and I discovered that the black bear became far more visible and active since fires ransacked that region several years ago. Even though black bears are not known for attacking humans, their aggression escalates when they sense their cubs may be in danger. If that situation happens, you could find yourself contending with a 500-pound bear. Bottom line? Black bear will boldly contend for their offspring. Period.
I can hear all the “momma bears” out there rising up to give a collective protective roar, right? We understand rising up to contend for our cubs.
CONTENDING FOR YOUR CUBS-
Who are the “cubs” God has entrusted to your care right now (to contend for)? Perhaps your cubs are your own children, grandkids, students, neighbors, younger moms, family members or those in your community who need an advocate? God certainly gives us as mommas a heart to contend.
As a “learn by example kinda gal,” I am thankful that God’s Word gives us plenty of godly examples of mommas contending for their “cubs.” From Old Testament moms like Hannah and the Shulamite woman to New Testament moms like Mary and the persistent widow, God has made us “contenders” for our cubs. Each week in our Portraits of Womanhood Bible Studies, moms and daughters grow in their Christ-confidence as they study the biblical portraits of women like these. Yes ma’am, God loves to see mommas contending for our next generation of young women through the powerful study and application of His Truth.
CONTENDING ALONGSIDE EACH OTHER–
Years ago, on a previous trip to the Great Smoky Mountain National Forest, our whole family embarked on a moderate hike to Rainbow Falls. As we began the trail, we were met with those who were on the way down the mountain. They described how beautiful it was at our chosen destination—Rainbow Falls. How worth it! However, they also warned us that just ahead there was a momma bear and three cubs. YIKES! At first, we wondered if we should turn around and look for another hiking trail, but these veteran hikers encouraged us to stay on course and not be afraid. They taught us this secret. “Momma bears are only aggressive if they do not hear you coming. It is when they are surprised that they rise up to attack those who may endanger their cubs. So, the best advice we can give is to “Keep talking.” As long as you are talking to one another, the momma bears will hear you and keep their cubs at a safe distance.”
Wow! The secret is to “keep talking” along the way. A famous proverb states, “If you want to run FAST, go ALONE. If you want to run FAR, go TOGETHER.” Yes, whether its moms contending for other moms, or moms contending for your cubs, God has made us to make this journey better TOGETHER! That’s why Heart of Womanhood designs our studies for moms and daughters to do in tandem. They are perfect in a group setting. Every week includes intentional time for group, mom/daughter, and even dad/daughter “Heart to Heart” conversation starters. God knows that we need each other on this journey. We need to contend for one another if we are to get to our ultimate desired destination safely—and enjoy the journey along the way.
God’s Word says it like this: “BEAR one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Yes, we were created to be contenders for each other!
PAPA BEAR IS CONTENDING FOR YOU—
As momma bears we tend to easily picture ourselves being the protectors—the contenders! But this November Heart of Womanhood Blog rises to remind YOU that GOD is contending for YOU! You are His own beloved cub!
Psalm 35 is what I like to call my “black bear prayer.” “Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me…Awake and rise to my defense! Contend FOR ME, my God and my Lord.”
I love the Hebrew word translated “contend” in these verses because it’s two dimensional. It refers to both the physical AND verbal elements of struggle. Those who contend include those who engage in intense physical combat as well as epic courtroom battles. Contending involves both muscles and mouth. As faith-filled mommas, Psalm 35 is our heartfelt prayer calling on God to contend FOR US in both dimensions!
In terms of physical combat, God is like a big Smoky Mountain black bear protecting a beloved cub. It’s God’s instinctive nature because we are the apple of His eye. If anyone messes with us, they will find themselves contending with The One who created every big black bear on planet earth!
In terms of verbal combat, God is like our defense attorney that pleads our case and pleads our cause. When our backs are against the wall, God has our backs. When everything is on the line, God steps in. Satan may be named the accuser of the brethren, but he is no match for our ADVOCATE— God’s Holy Spirit—given to defend us. (John 14-17) He is our AVENGER! (Romans 12:19)
As you encircle your own cubs in prayer today, remember that long before you woke up this morning and long after you go to sleep tonight, your Papa Bear (Almighty Father God, Holy Spirit Counselor, and your Lord Jesus) have all been “encircling YOU with songs of deliverance”—-contending FOR YOU! See all three contending for you in these verses:
Romans 8:26 “So too the HOLY SPIRIT comes to our aid and BEARS us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer as we should, but the SPIRIT Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance.”
Hosea 13:8 “ALMIGHTY GOD says, “I will attack them like a bear robbed of her cubs, And I will also devour them like a lioness, As a wild beast would tear them.”
Luke 22:32 “JESUS said, “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. But Simon, I’VE PRAYED FOR YOU, in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”
Yes. You are God’s triple circled cub!
PAPA BEAR HUGS
And finally, while you encircle your own cubs with loving “momma bear hugs,” picture yourself being wrapped in God’s big bear hug all day long! Rise up and pray your own “black bear prayer” from Psalm 35 confident that God is contending FOR YOU.
His powerful love promises to “BEAR all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. His love never fails.”
As those who are loved by our Papa Bear, when we meet others along the trail toward our high destination, we can contend for them. Let’s “keep talking” to Jesus and each other as we hike through this life. And when we find ourselves surrounded by life’s treacherous mountains or dense unknown forests, when we feel endangered or trapped, or when we feel like we are “bearly” making it, we can rise up and roar—-praying, living, and loving confident that we are contended for by God Himself!
If that doesn’t infuse mighty black bear confidence in us, I don’t know what will!