Reminded Of "My Place" in Creation

'Black Bear' photo (c) 2007, Bess Sadler - license:

OK, the book of Job is not the most uplifting book in the Bible.  I know folks use the phrase "the patience of Job" pretty freely, but it sure seems like that guy was a bit of a whiner...not that he didn't have anything to complain about.  Let's face it.  He had it rough.  But my favorite part of the book is towards the end when Job's so-called "friends" fade away and God really makes an appearance, to be confronted by (and to confront) Job.  In Chapter 38, it's God who questions the questioner who has the audacity to ask why bad things happen to good people...namely Job.

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
2 ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up your loins like a man,
   I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

4 ‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
   Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
   Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
   or who laid its cornerstone
7 when the morning stars sang together
   and all the heavenly beings* shouted for joy?

8 ‘Or who shut in the sea with doors
   when it burst out from the womb?—
9 when I made the clouds its garment,
   and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and prescribed bounds for it,
   and set bars and doors,
11 and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
   and here shall your proud waves be stopped”? 

And, over the next verses, God proceeds to ask Job just who it is that has control over all living creatures...the goats, the wild ass, the hawk, the horse, etc.   This is the Lord God Almighty talking here and Job needs to remember his place in creation and be grateful for it.  God's God.  Job's not.  Get over it.

Occasionally, I get reminded of "my place" in this creation of God's.  Bears have done this for me over the last three days.

First, on Thursday evening, I finally was going to get out on a bike ride.  It had been a few days.  My bike had a new crank set and cartridge and I was ready to head on out to Bird Point for a quick 18 mile ride.  I was moving.  It was good to be out.  I was just about ready to ride on down a hill to the turnaround point when a black bear appeared on the bike path.  I slammed on my breaks about 40 feet away.  I yelled.  I picked up my bike.  I was very polite about it, but I made it clear that I wanted to proceed down the hill.  I'd worked 8 miles to get there.  But the bear wouldn't budge.  I then saw a cub in a tree behind it.  The bear wasn't going to move.  I figured this was a sign that I should just turn around and deal with a 16 mile ride.  It was a good ride.  But I was reminded that I'm really not in control of this life of mine.  I'm not even in control of the bike ride.

Then, on Friday, my wife and I went up Alyeska for a hike.  Again, it was going to have to be a little short but it was good to be out.   We had just made it back down to the bottom when a biker pointed out a bear up the hill.  There was a cub with this one as well.  We watched for a few minutes as they wandered around a clearing and then it was time to go home.  I was reminded of the wildness of the place we live.  Creation is all around us.

But, Saturday was the one that really reminded me what part of the food chain I am around here.  I went out in our very tiny lawn to get the garden hose with the hopes of knocking down a hornets nest that has been built under the edge of our roof.  I was in the yard and heard a very forceful "GRUNT."  There was a rather large black bear 10-15 feet away from me.  The grunt was meant for me.  It watched very carefully as I hurriedly made my way down our porch steps away from it.  I'd never had a bear grunt at me before.  Then again, I'd never gotten that close to one without there being a fence or glass between it and me.  While the bear wasn't doing anything besides being a bear, it made me realize I was out of my league.  This was a big bear.  His grunt clearly pointed out that he was boss at that moment.

Look, pride gets the best of all of us at some time or another.  For some of us, it's a more regular occurrence.  But in the end, God, either answering "out of the whirlwind" or sending a few bears our way, reminds us that we are merely some of his creatures in this great world of us.  We may be loved and forgiven creatures, but we're just creatures all the same.

What reminds you of your place?  What does God use to bring out some of your humility?