A Lesson from Bison: Running To and Through the StormGeorge Shamblin
The state of Colorado is divided almost exactly in half. In the western part of the state, you’ll find the Rocky Mountains. Towards the east is the Great Plains. Taken together, Colorado is one of the few places on earth where cattle and bison roam freely together. However, when a looming storm approaches, a significant distinction occurs between how each species reacts.
When cattle see a storm coming out of the west, they head east, trying to run away from it. Predictably, the storm eventually catches up to them. As they continue running east and the storm continues to travel east, all they’re doing is prolonging their time in the storm.
Bison, on the other hand, will do the exact opposite. When storms approach, they never run away from them. They run directly to and through them head-on. Their time within the storm is, therefore, significantly reduced. When faced with troubles, we respond more like cows than bison. I believe there’s a lesson in there for sure.
What if you tried something different this year? Took a different approach? Rather than trying to outrun your conflicts and troubles, what if you ran straight toward the heart of them? It may feel counterintuitive at first, but if you’re willing to take God at His word, and I think you should, He will guide you through that process.
I’ve come up with three I Must statements to help you run to and through the storms that lie ahead. Notice how each I Must statement is written in the first person. That’s intentional to emphasize what you need to do individually, not just in a collective sense. The three statements are: I Must Not Lose Heart, I Must Consider It All Joy, I Must Keep Short Accounts.
I Must Not Lose Heart
“Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes God lets the storm rage and calms His child.” (unknown) In either situation, I cannot lose heart. Paul was a follower of Jesus and faced tremendous storms throughout his life. His perspective sheds interesting light on how I am to view adversity: “Therefore, we do not lose heart…our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (2 Cor. 4:17) The word of God commands that I “fear not” more than any other command in Scripture. Adversity, like rough weather, is momentary. Remember, this too shall pass.
I Must Consider It All Joy
The odds are strong that storms will continue to enter my world in 2022. Over the course of my life, I’ve allowed various storms to rob me of my joy. But not this year. I’m going to view the next storm as an opportunity to express joy amid suffering, as only a Holy Spirit-filled believer could do. I plan to thank God for the test, knowing it will produce much-needed endurance in me. Even more, I’ll be better prepared for the next storm when it arrives. James 1:4 can serve as my guide: “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I Must Keep Short Accounts
I avoid confrontation at all costs, which has never worked out well. I also know the definition of insanity. It would not be foolish not to try a different approach. The Bible tells me to tackle confrontation head-on, to work quickly on resolving it. If I’m angry at someone, I’ve got until sundown to handle it: “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” (Eph. 4:26) If I have something against a brother or sister, I must lovingly seek them out face-to-face to confront the issue. (Mt. 18:15) Even if my brother or sister has something against me, the burden falls upon me to seek them out and settle the matter. According to Romans 12:18, I’m called to do all of these to the best of my ability. “If possible, as much as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Confrontations are like those vicious storms brewing in the west. I can’t outrun them and will have to face them one way or the other. I might as well gain momentum by running to and through them early.
There’s a lot to learn from bison. It’s up to me to put these lessons to good use.