There were three animals who came to the rescue of a bear. He had been going to the river to catch his dinner and had tripped on a root, breaking his leg, and throwing him into a painful roll where he incurred more injuries. As he lay there he lamented out loud, “Oh! and now I shall starve! From mighty to worthless!”
A bird was hopping by and showed his broken wing to the bear. “Do not despair giant. I am unable to fly but I still hunt. Grubs are my meal for this time while my wing grows strong again. I know what it means to be hungry.
The bear took a small amount of courage from the words of the bird with the broken wing and began crawling toward a log. He was able to overturn it and found many grubs and, for a time was sustained and strengthened. It was not long however before he grew despondent again.
“Oh. I shall never taste the sweetness of salmon again. I am a shadow of myself, crawling and groveling from dead stump to dead stump. I was the king. Now I crawl like a crippled bird.”
A badger came up from her den and regarded the condition of the bear. After a time she said, “Cousin, I understand that for a time you forfeit the thing you love the most. I too, must go underground for months during the winters. I desire the meals I basked in during the high weeks of summer. For a time, I rely on my memories of the goodness. I know that winter is not the end. It is only a season.”
The bear took heart again from the thought that he was merely enduring a season. He would once again be reunited with the thing he loved most. He continued to gain strength each day, but soon he was in despair again. “Oh, that I were strong enough to climb a tree and harvest the honey from the bee’s hive. Life is not worth the struggle without honey.”
A squirrel was at the very moment passing the limb with the honey hive attached. “Bear! Have hope. You only have to ask, and I can be your claws and strength.” And with that statement the squirrel pushed the hive from its high place to the ground. The hive broke open at the feet of the bear spilling all of its rich sweet gold. The bear relished the honey.
In time he developed a relationship with the birds, squirrels and badgers. He soon was basking in the cold waters of the river.
He had learned lessons that he never forgot. He learned to be sustained by grubs, because they were the gift of the bird. He rested in caves waiting for spring, but appreciated even those hungry days in reminiscent anticipation. This was the gift of the badger. He learned that sweetness was a gift from the squirrel who became his claws and strength at each hive. Although these friends had been strangers to him, his crisis brought him into a new relationship with each, who understood his plight in different way.
God understands our plight.