The voice of a camper broke the silence.
“I think that one is the alpha.”
Our group of Wilderness Campers from Appalachian Christian Camp had hiked over from Laurel Run Park into Bays Mountain and was resting as we took in the sight of the wolves in their habitat area. Over the course of a half hour, we watched the pack mostly in silence. Our observations gave us a lot to think about.
Wolf packs aren’t what many of us think. When cubs are born, the other wolves get excited about their arrival, the way friends and family members do. Alpha females will select another female to watch the cubs while she hunts, like a babysitter. And pack members mourn the loss of cubs as well. Lone wolves don’t do well in the wild; a lone wolf isn’t tough; he is near to death. People think that wolves at meal time are chaotic, but believe it or not, there is an order to how nearly everything is done in a pack, including eating. Without using our actual powers of observation, without taking the time to read about wolves as they really are — as opposed to what we tell ourselves they are — we inevitably get things wrong.
We tell ourselves that we think we know how the world works, how life is, and who and what God is. Sometimes we are right. But sometimes we have not yet learned to observe God in action, nor have we properly read up on what and who he is.
When was the last time you spent some time reading God’s promises in quiet observation?
John 8:31-32 tells us, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ ”
Consider the word “abide.” It means “to dwell.” If we live there in terms of our thought and in the shaping of our daily mindset, how might our outlook be different? God’s truth will set us free; free from fear, free from worry, and free from the myriad of things that entangle and complicate our lives.
The next time you feel worry creeping into your life, remember: Freedom is given to those who abide in His word, the word that is truth and life.
Mike Beverly is the senior minister at Indian Springs Christian Church in Kingsport.