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With the peace of God, he became ‘Kicking Bear’

SPOKANE, Wash. (BP)–Some folks now teasingly call him Kicking Bear, a reflection of the fact that Richard Young may never take another sabbatical.
On staff at Driscoll Boulevard Baptist Church, Spokane, Wash., for seven years, Young was given six weeks of study and rest time away from the office this summer.
Two of those weeks were to be in a tent at Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, in New Mexico, but the first week a friend offered the use of his room at Thunderbird Lodge. As to the second week, well, that’s the story.
During the break between Glorieta’s music and discipleship weeks, Young set up his tent campsite near Frontier Village, about 100 yards from Holcomb Auditorium. He spent hours digging trenches all around the tent because the U.S. Weather Service was reporting flash floods, and by 9 p.m. he was ready to call it a day.
“But the sun wasn’t even down,” Young said. “Finally at 9:30, I crawled into my sleeping bag and I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, it’s 9:30 and you know me. I’ll be up at 2:30 and that’s not good.’”
But it was good.
“I checked my watch and sure enough, it was 2:30. I checked it again and it had moved to 2:35, and then in the quietness of the night, I heard a loud ‘sniff, sniff’ and I said, ‘Lord, this is not a dog. This is the loudest sniff, sniff I have ever heard in my life.'”
Young raised up and saw through the tent screen, with light from a nearby campsite, a bear sniffing at his feet. Then the bear raised its snout and took a bite out of the mesh at the top of the small backpacker’s tent.
“I knew that wasn’t good,” Young said.
In the midst of the calm that was somehow shrouding him, Young remembered being told a bear hit in the nose would turn and run.
“I prepared myself and took my legs, brought them up to my chest and thrust my legs and hit him in the nose with my feet. I didn’t know if it would get rid of the bear or make him mad.”
The bear took off, apparently to a campsite 30 yards away, because Young heard a woman say, “Get out of our stuff,” and a man say, “Grrr. Grrr.”
By morning the bear had been caught. When state fish and game officials saw he’d been tagged twice before, they removed him permanently from the area.
Young moved to a cabin, finished out the week at Glorieta’s Discipleship and Family Living Week, and on his way home bought a wooden sculpture of a bear as a reminder of the experience.
He learned from his experience that bears do turn away from a sharp hit on their nose — and that God is always with him, Young said.
“I felt this tremendous peace come over me when the bear sniffed over the tent,” the associate pastor said. “When he sniffed, I had time to think. I feel I have learned God is going to take care of these situations of life. All I have to do is live and trust in him, and when they start, I just have to take a deep breath and trust.”