Have you ever heard the children’s song, “Bear Hunt”? The song describes two kids on a—you guessed it—bear hunt and they aren’t phased by any of the obstacles on their path to reach the prize. Each time they’re faced with a new challenge (tall grass, a roaring river, or a dark cave) they sing, “We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we have to go through it.”
I was reminded of this song recently when my counselor said something that was a little difficult to hear. She laid it on me hard:
“Your whole life you have been avoiding your challenges instead of facing them.”
And she was exactly right. I had a tendency to run away from my problems by medicating my way through them. I did this to numb my emotions and feelings so that it wouldn’t hurt so bad. And don’t we all do this to some degree at some time or another? Medicating doesn’t always look like a pill or a bottle, but it does always look like depending on something other than God.
What I’ve learned after many years of avoiding my problems is that I can never become who God wants me to be without walking through them. Just like in the song, we have to go through it because God uses our pain for good (see Romans 8:28 if you don’t believe me).
God has a plan for us. A good plan. If you’ve never heard the Bear Hunt song before (spoiler alert!) the kids finally reach the bear, and in a panic, run straight back home. We can’t always see it when we’re in the middle of the dark forest, but if we’re willing to go through the hard stuff, we’ll realize the journey was the reward all along.