God knew what was coming in 2020. He wasn't surprised when the media first announced a virus from China, even though it seemed so far away from us at the time.
He knew church buildings would soon be empty and that jobs were about to close down.
He knew when that glowing bride to be chose her perfect wedding venue, that she would instead marry her love in her living room on Facebook live.
He knew loved ones would enter a hospital alone and never come back out. That people would mourn in isolation.
He knew schools would close and seniors would miss everything they planned on for years.
He knew when George Floyd stepped outside that day exactly what was about to happen. He knew our country was about to go up in flames, and that people would hurt and cry out for relief on all sides of the story.
He knew social media was about to explode into accusations. That people everywhere would be ripped apart.
So God made a bear. And He named him Bruno.
I'm pretty sure this black bear was placed by the hand of God onto the Wisconsin landscape with some special instructions.
“Just start walking.”
“That's it. Just walk. Cross some streets. Walk by a department store. Keep walking in the same direction.”
So Bruno walked. He walked through places where bears don't usually live, and people noticed.
Pictures of him going through corn fields, walking the countryside, and videos of him crossing the highways began surfacing on Facebook.
He was everywhere. And so far, he is hands-down the best thing about 2020.
Bruno has now traveled from Wisconsin through Illinois and maybe into Missouri by now.
There are Facebook groups dedicated to the determined black bear and the Department of Conservation has followed his entire journey to ensure he stays safe.
He was exactly what we needed.
I can't say whether Bruno knew where he was going or not. Since he's a bear and has no access to Google Maps that I am aware of, my guess is he got up each day and walked where God guided him.
Bruno must have faced some hard terrains and I know he weathered some storms in his journey. I imagine he walked through some moments that scared him too.
But Bruno kept going. He kept walking because something inside of him knew that's what he was supposed to do.
And I just feel like God is using that journey to remind us how to live each day. Especially right now.
Bruno faced uncertain times. We are facing uncertain times too. But we just have to keep going.
Nature has an awesome way of hearing God, through instincts. So, just as the birds fly south for the winter, and as other animals migrate to wherever they go, God comes as an inner compass.
But as people, we tend to complicate things. We have bigger brains and understand just enough about the world to sometimes screw everything up.
Sometimes (by sometimes I mean all the time) we need to get up and walk. Take one step after another, fully leaning on God to get us to our destination. We might not know where we are going, but He does and that's all we need to know.
That's not to say I don't believe in planning things or going by a map. Believe me, our GPS saved our marriage multiple times. (Her name was Garmin but she sadly passed on a trip home from Alabama.) But sometimes we just can't plan and we can't know what's ahead. We have to remember in those times that God has a plan. Even if things seem out of control, He is always in control.
Bruno knows that. He just gets up and goes.
So far 2020 has been a year to remember. Mostly in utter horror and disgust, but memorable nonetheless.
Maybe Bruno hasn't solved our problems but I think that's because God is working on things we can't see. The Bible promises that He brings all things together for the good of those who love Him.
He wants us to know He's working. He wants us to hold onto our faith. He wants to just keep walking.
And so He made a bear. And He named him Bruno.