Vixie wanted to scream, but she couldn’t. She knew that any little noise might alert the beast outside to her presence—then she would be a goner. The animal got closer, and Vixie quickly slapped her trembling hands over her mouth. She pushed herself into the farthest corner of her tiny makeshift shelter and fought back tears. She had never been so scared in her life. Where is God? She wondered. Had He really brought her out here to die?
Before the Beast
Vixie wanted to scream—she was so excited! She and her classmates were participating in the biggest event of the school year: Survival Week. For an entire week the students had been learning how to make fires, find food and water, and build shelters. Now each student was going to spend 24 hours alone in the wilderness to put his and her new survival skills to the test!
Vixie was excited because she loved to spend time alone with God in nature. It was quiet, so she could hear His voice, and she got to worship while surrounded by His creation. She couldn’t wait!
Just as she was getting ready to spend her day with God, all of Vixie’s excitement came crashing down. The students were divided into sections on the mountain where they would be camping, and she discovered that she had been assigned to the first section.
It’s not fair! Vixie thought. She wanted to be all the way in the last section, where she would be far from everyone but God. Just as she was about to complain, she remembered what she had prayed the night before. She had asked God to put her where He wanted her to be. Did God want her to be in the first section? I guess so, Vixie thought. With a sigh she began hiking up the mountain.
The Lion’s Den
Before long, Vixie came to a place where the rock jutted out, creating a little cave beneath. All of Vixie’s excitement returned—it was time to build her shelter! She used rocks that had fallen to make a wall on one side, and pushed a log against the other. Then she used strips of bark to close off the side with the log and shoved pine needles and leaves into the cracks to keep the shelter warm and comfortable. She cut herself a little while she was working, but she knew a little bit of blood never hurt anyone.
After spending some time with God, Vixie decided it was time to go to sleep. She climbed into her shelter and was just about to doze off when she heard a noise. Vixie’s head snapped up.
It’s probably just a deer, Vixie thought, trying to keep calm. Everything’s going to be all right.
Vixie tried to go back to sleep, but she heard the noise again. Closer this time. Mustering all her courage, she peeked out of the shelter to see what the sound was. It was a little dark at first, but the moment she saw it her heart skipped a beat. It was not a deer. It was a mountain lion! And she was sleeping in its den!
Vixie did not know what to do. She could yell for help, but the mountain lion would punish her before anyone got there. She could use the knife lying beside her, but she was too scared even to look at it. Maybe if she stayed really, really still, it wouldn’t even—
All of a sudden the lion looked in her direction. It licked its lips and started to sniff the shelter.
Oh no! Vixie thought, looking at the cut on her arm. It can smell the blood!
As if it could read her thoughts, the lion started scratching the log outside of her shelter. It wouldn’t be long until the only thing standing between Vixie and the lion was gone.
Horrified, Vixie knew there was only one thing left to do. She tuned out the sound of claws scraping against wood and started praying as she’d never prayed before. But she didn’t pray for herself. No, somehow that didn’t seem right. Instead, she prayed for her friends. She prayed that they would find peace, be safe, and be warm. And the more she prayed for her friends, the more peace she felt.
Finally, Vixie decided it was time. She opened her eyes, ready to face her fate, but the lion was nowhere to be found. She was so busy praying that she hadn’t even heard it leave. Relief flowed all through the exhausted survivor, and she fell asleep praising God and still praying for her friends. Tomorrow morning she would wake up to find paw prints as big as her hand outside, but for tonight all she knew was that God had protected her. She may have been alone in the middle of the wilderness, but she wasn’t really alone at all.
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