Consider the Bear: A Lesson from Nature

Consider the Bear: A Lesson from Nature

Often the Bible presents lessons from nature. “Go to the ant, o sluggard, observe her ways and be wise” (Prov. 6:6). For this lesson, let us consider the bear. During the winter they will spend four to eight months in hibernation, depending on the severity of the winter. During the months they are awake, they are consuming up to ninety pounds of food a day in preparation for hibernation. During hibernation, their heartbeat slows from fifty beats per minute down to ten. Their body temperature drops by ten to twelve degrees. During hibernation, they are burning four thousand calories a day. Bears do not urinate or defecate during hibernation. Instead, bears reabsorb their urine and feces in the form of proteins. Bears can lose 25-40% of their body weight during hibernation. They are burning their fat for fuel. When bears emerge from hibernation, they are in a state of “walking hibernation” for several weeks. Bears may appear drunk or in a stupor until their bodies get back to normal. So why consider the bear?

Is it possible that we feel like we have been in hibernation for a long time with these cold temperatures? A few days or weeks of cold temperatures makes it feel like it has been a very long winter. What happened while were hibernating? Did we change any habits? Did some things slow down? Did a heart for God now beat slower? Did our fire of conviction lose a few degrees? Are we spiritually gaunt and emaciated? Did we return to old things that we should’ve left alone and start recycling through them? Are we in a spiritual stupor? Bears were made for hibernation. We were not.

“But you did not learn Christ in this way” (Eph. 4:20). Coming out of this hibernation there are things we can do to get our spiritual bodies back into shape. We need to return to good spiritual habits: feeding ourselves with the word of God (1 Pet. 2:2); benefiting from lessons from services, Bible studies online, reading, and getting together with others for study; returning to a habit of constant prayer is powerful (1 Thess. 5:17). We were not designed for long periods of spiritual hibernation. Without constant nourishment, even those most prepared, need to be refueled.

low my spiritual life to slow down? Have I lost spiritual strength during this interrupted life? What should I change?

~Adapted from Josh Blackmear


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