The great plains of Canada and the United States once teemed with wild Bison. The bison had been hunted by the first nations people of the plains for hundreds of years, but the settlement of the plains by white man marked the beginning of the end of the plains Bison. By the 1870s, the great plains were virtually free of wild bison. The creatures were near extinction. During one of the last great hunts in Montana, four orphaned bison calves followed a horse belonging to a First Nationals man named Samuel Walking Cayote to his home. Walking Coyote captured and raised these calves, and in a few years, his four had increased to fourteen.
The two Metis men also purchased Walking Cayote’s small herd, and over a few decades, they managed to raise a heard of about 350 bison, which they grazed on the Flathead Indian Reserve. However, when parts of this reserve were opened up by the US government for white settlement, the Bison had to go.
The herd was offered to the US government. Some reports say that the government couldn’t commit to such a purchase. Others say the government couldn’t offer Pablo as much money as he hoped to get for his animals. Still others say that Pablo felt personally insulted by the US government and their reaction to his offer. Whatever the reason, when the Canadian government offered to buy his bison, every last animal possible was rounded up and sent across the 49th parallel into Canada.
Once in Canada, the Bison were sent to various reserves, and where human folly nearly destroyed the Bison in the 19th century, it is now estimated in Canada alone that there are at least 10,000 bison on public lands, and many more are farmed privately.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I’m being hunted to extinction. I had a day like that today. Every time I turned around, my thoughts went down the wrong paths, paths of jealousy and self-pity, frustration and depression. The most interesting part, however, was that the things that were rousing all of these negative parts of me were all — lies! For whatever reason, however, I stepped into those traps time and time again. I felt like I was being “hunted” by the demons, that they were attempting to break me down, to drive me to “extinction”. But just like there were a few who worked to preserve the bison, God always makes away of escape for us: “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Cor. 10:13 NIV). He is always busy at work, reaching out to us, encouraging us, sending us comfort.
I knew this today. I could even see His hand upon my day. But just like those 4 orphaned bison had to choose to follow the horse to the ranch of the native American, I had a choice to make: I could accept God’s help, or I could continue in the traps the demons were surrounding me with. At one point, I cried out to God. I told Him that I wanted to be free, but I was too weak to break free. Immediately God put the words of 2 Cor. 12:9-10 in my mind: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NIV). I said, “God, I am very, very weak right now. I don’t know why, but ‘why’ doesn’t matter. What matters is that You are strong! You have promised that your strength is perfected in my weakness, and Lord, I need your perfect strength right now!”
Instantly the jealousy, self-pity peeled away, and where I had been frustrated and depressed, I now felt…joy!
Feeling like you are being hunted down with negative emotions and depression and you can’t find your way out? Remember that God will always make a way of escape, and He will provide you with the strength to take it!
The Bison aren’t extinct, and we are no longer slaves to the devil!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.