The Return of the Grizzlies


     We live right next to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area and have always enjoyed hiking and camping in the area which includes numerous beautiful mountain lakes. We haven’t been real excited about the Fish and Wildlife Service’s program to introduce grizzly bears into the Cabinets. It is not only the risk of a grizzly encounter while out hiking or hunting, but the program has also resulted in the shutting down of numerous roads and logging and mining operations just to be sure we don’t bother the bears. Timber projects get stuck in court and a major mine proposal remains in limbo while our county copes with the highest unemployment rate in Montana. Many fingers point to grizzly bears as the chief culprit.  Our local grizzly bear specialist with the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the grizzly population at 40-45 in the Cabinets and nearby Yaak.  Other local surveys suggest a much higher population. Throw in the surging wolf population in the area and its affect on our big game population and local livestock and pets, and public tempers here are running pretty hot.
 
     This past summer another grizzly was trapped in the Whitefish, Montana area (close to  Glacier Park) and transplanted to the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area.  The 4-year-old female was released near Silver Butte Creek on July 25. The bear, fitted with a GPS monitoring collar, was located on August 5 back near Whitefish very close to her original capture site!  As the Fish and Wildlife was tracking this bear, they detected the signal for another grizzly that had been moved from the Whitefish Range to the Cabinets in September 2009.  That bear spent the winter in the West Cabinets but this summer was located about five miles northeast of the Big Mountain sky area near Whitefish. The first bear traveled about 73 miles in seven days, while the second bear covered 60 miles in six days, based on information downloaded from their collars.   As the information was examined it showed that, after crossing Highway 2 South of Libby, both bears followed a relatively straight and direct course back to the Whitefish Range. The Fish and Wildlife Service, of course, were amazed at how they managed to find there way back so quickly and in a straight path. They had been transported initially in a culvert-like trap in the back of a truck, so obviously couldn’t see where they were going so they could plan their escape and return!!
 
     I think that often God’s creatures show a bit more intelligence than we humans–the crown of  creation–show!  And what a demonstration of the “Divine Guidance System”  (DGS) that God places in His creatures. Think of the amazing feat of the migration of the salmon from the ocean and up the rivers to the very place of  their beginning to spawn and start the cycle all over again. Or consider the many species of birds which will migrate for hundreds and even thousands of miles to return to their same nesting sites. Isn’t evolution a marvelous thing!  (NOT!–But we serve an amazing, awesome, intelligent Designer/Creator whose works are beyond our comprehension.  As the Psalmist said, “O LORD,  how many are Your works! In wisdom You made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions” (Psa. 104:24).
 
      If God can guide the fish and birds and animals, just think of what He can do in our lives if we ask Him. Solomon wrote: “Trust in the LORD  with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” (Pr. 3:5,6 NASB).   The KJV says “…He will direct your paths.”  The  Psalmist wrote: “Make me know Thy ways, O LORD; Teach me Thy  paths.  Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation.  All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies…I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you” (Psa.  25:4,5,10; 32:8).
 
      If God cares so much about His creatures, think about how much He must love you and me!  Jesus, in His “Sermon on the Mount,” said, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not worth much more than they?” (Mt. 6:25,26). 
 
      Whether you are hiking in a wilderness, navigating at sea, or driving your car across country, the GPS is a valuable instrument to safely guide you to your desired destination.  How much greater, though, is God’s “Divine Guidance System” (DGS).  There have been some who have actually been led astray by a GPS and ended up in a dangerous situation.  Never will God mislead you. “As for God, His way is blameless (perfect);  The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God, the God who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless?  He makes my feet like hinds  feet, and sets me upon high places. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation, and Thy right hand upholds me; and Thy gentleness makes me great.  Thou dost enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped” (Psa.  18:30-36).   When we ask Him, God guides our life–through His written Word and the indwelling Holy Spirit. David wrote:  “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Psa.  119:105).  Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit,  whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (Jn. 14:26).  
 
      Are you letting God direct your life through His Word and the indwelling Spirit?  Remember, His way is perfect–you can’t improve on  that!
 
 
 
                             Forever His,
 
                                         Pastor Dave
 

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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