In its review of the book, Library Journal succinctly summarizes the plot:
“First-time author Fletcher is a solo mountain climber who in May 1980 decided to climb Mount Hess, a remote peak of the Alaska Range. The approach to the mountain is through a secluded wilderness area and involves crossing a large glacier. On the second day of the approach, Fletcher was surprised by a bear cub and accidentally killed it. The mother, a large and distinctive grizzly, took this amiss. She began hunting him…”
I will not tell you how the book ends. I will only say that even though it has been years since I first read this riveting page-turner, to this very day, it still makes me cast a frequent glance over my shoulder as I walk here in the woods of eastern Tennessee!
By their very nature, of course, bears can be vicious. After all, as they eke out a daily living, they are forced to rely on the only tools nature has provided them: acute senses, powerful muscles, jagged claws, and sharp teeth. Little wonder that they have acquired a reputation for ferociousness.
The Bible subtly reminds us of this in the few times it mentions bears. For instance, while serving as a young shepherd boy, King David encountered a bear, and had to kill it in order to keep it from taking one of his father’s sheep. Later, when the Prophet Elisha was being persecuted by certain ne’er-do-wells, he called forth “she bears” to attack those who were troubling him.
Take note of the term “she bears”. It is a well-known fact the most ferocious of all bears is a mother protecting her cubs. In such circumstances, sows (or female bears with young) have been known to take on bores (or male bears) as much as twice their size – a fact that is also acknowledged in Scripture.
Proverbs 17:22 puts it this way: “It is safer to meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in his foolishness.” The obvious point of the verse is to avoid foolish people in order not to be harmed by your ongoing acquaintance with them. But it is worth noting that the dangerous situation used for comparison to meeting a fool is that of a mother bear who has lost one or more of her cubs!
I hope I never meet up with a mother bear that has cubs. To do so would be to court trouble. If I do, I pray I can somehow communicate to her that I mean her and her brood no harm, and that I am then allowed to get away.
What makes a grizzly bear mother so protective of her offspring? The answer is that God made her this way. She has been charged by the Lord with the responsibility of giving life to the next generation. As a part of that charge, she also bears the principle burden for protecting that life, nurturing that life, educating that life, and, when the time comes, relinquishing that life to carry her species into the future.
As I write this, it is the Saturday evening before Mother’s Day. And I cannot help but remember my own mother with fondness. She too was used of God in order to give me life, to protect me, to nurture me, and to educate me. For all these things, I am grateful - just as I am for the fact that she kept this all up until such time as I was able to stand on my own two feet, and to fend for myself in the world at large. No wonder the Bible admonishes us to honor our mothers!
My own mother is now in Heaven, where I trust she is receiving her eternal reward. Before she passed away, I tried my best to let her know how much I appreciated her and all she had done for me. Now that she has passed, I do my best to communicate that same sense of appreciation to all the other women in my life, including my mother-in-law, my precious wife, my two sisters, my daughter, and my two daughters in law.
Each of these ladies are now mothers in their own right; and I trust on this Mother’s Day, especially, will know how valued they are!
Do you have a mom who needs to hear how much you appreciate her? If so, tomorrow would be good day to let her know what she means to you. Chances are that, by her very nature, she showed you much love in life. It is not only natural, but also spiritual for you to show her love in return.
Fletcher, David. Hunted: A True Story of Survival (Boston: Da Capo Press, 2002).
The fascinating story of Hugh Glass is worth noting here. It is the real life 19th century adventure of an unfortunate mountain man upon which the movies, The Revenant, and an earlier, less politically correct incarnation, Man in the Wilderness, were based. While out hunting for food to feed a party of fur trappers in 1823, Glass surprised a grizzly bear that mauled him mercilessly. Left for dead by his companions, he recovered, and crawled hundreds of miles back to civilization, before setting out to exact revenge on those who had abandoned him. The movies themselves are based on several written accounts and historical novels about the event.