“Hey Jax, you didn’t forget to bring your mosquito spray did you?” Jayce asks, as the boys load their gear into the back of Jayce’s parent’s minivan.
“That was the first thing I put in my pack this year,” Jax says with a laugh. Last year, at Jayce’s annual family camping trip, Jax came home with thirty-two mosquito bites! “I wish I had spray for your cousin, Finley,” Jax adds. “He was almost as much of a pest last year as the bugs.” The boys fall quiet for a moment as if lost in a joint memory of the past year’s bullying they prayed would be avoided this year.
After dinner that evening, Jayce and Jax sit around the campfire with Jayce’s cousins and some friends the cousins invited. “The fire is getting low and I gathered the last bundle,” Finley says, facing Jayce and Jax. “Your turn boys, go get some firewood-or are you too afraid of the dark-spooky woods?” Finley’s heckle-like laughter echoes off the trees, sounding creepier than something you would laugh along with.
“We’re not scared, Finley. We’ll get this bundle and you can grab the last bundle of the night after that,” Jayce retorts, grabbing flashlights for him and Jax. The boys disappear into the pitch-black woods before turning on their flashlights to show they aren’t afraid of the dark. “Sorry about Finley, it looks like he’s no better this year. This might be a very long weekend.”
“Don’t sweat it, Jayce. I just love camping and fishing with you. I look forward to this trip all year. Your cousin could never fully ruin it for me,” comments Jax. “Now, let’s go grab some wood over this way. I think I saw some by the lake earlier.” The boys walk for a bit, but never see the lake. They make a couple of turns thinking they will head back to camp, yet end up near a high ridge they have never seen before. It looks pretty scary at night, too. Just then, they hear branches snapping in the woods behind them and snorting like “a-a-a-a bear!!” “What do we do?” whispers Jax.
“Are you sure it’s not just Finley messing with us?” Jayce asks with a shaky voice. When they hear the snorting again, they know that noise could never come out of a human, even one as big and nasty as Finley. “Do we run or climb a tree?” Jayce adds. “Or is it play dead?!”
“I think we hide and pray,” Jax says. “If it worked for Daniel in the lion’s den, it can work for us in the woods with one bear,” he adds, sounding a bit more confident now. “Dear Jesus, thank you for the forest, the animals, and everything you’ve created. We pray that you guide this bear far away from us right now and show us a clear path back to camp.” The boys stop shaking when they say “amen”. They look at each other with wide eyes and large smiles when they hear the bear wandering away from them. After a few minutes, the boys turn their flashlights in the direction where they first heard the bear and start walking towards it. Past a small berry patch, they round a corner and just barely make out a trail.
The trail leads them straight back to camp. It must be the long way around the lake they hadn’t taken before. Just before coming out of the woods, Jax spots a bundle of firewood wrapped in twine. The light of the moon shines on it and they laugh as the glow almost resembles the Nativity Story on Jayce’s fireplace mantle his mother displays at Christmas. “Someone camping here must have left a bundle of wood behind for the next campers,” Jayce says. “Either that or God blessed our socks off tonight by turning away that bear, showing us a trail, and giving us a bundle of firewood for putting our faith in Him.”
“I’m choosing to believe this was all God, man,” Jax says as they enter the camp.
“What was all God?” Finley asks, returning from the outhouse. Sitting down at the fire, Jax throws a couple of logs on the dying flames. “You wouldn’t believe it if we told you, but we’ll tell you anyway.”
“I believe,” said Jayce.
Weekly Bible Verse: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. -Psalms 56:3 NIV
Note to Nibble: When in doubt, seek God out, and pray without ceasing while putting your trust in Him.