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Archive for February, 2009

“Where are you headed?” the husky, bearded man asked as we stood gazing out over the magnificent vista all around us.

We were standing on a small promontory which allowed us to view the rugged mountainous country all around us. This time of year, late summer, there were only a few spots where snow still remained, but as we looked we could see that, for some of these high peaks, to be completely rid of snow was probably rare.

After my son-in-law and I told the man the small mountain lake we were planning on hiking to he asked, “How are you going to get to it?”

“On the trail, I imagine,” I replied.

At this the man asked if I had ever been back into this lake. When I replied that it had probably been 25 years or more he began to shake his head. “I don’t think you want to take the trail that is shown on the maps.” he said. “If you do, I think you will be sorry! Let me offer you a suggestion.”

For the next several minutes the man told us how the trail into the lake, which was difficult even when it had been maintained well, was now almost impassable. There were no longer any signs leading a person to where it began and if you found it you could expect a miserable time as you slipped and skidded, many times on other parts of your anatomy than just your feet, as brush slapped you in the face and water from a creek, which ran down the trail for most of the distance to the lake, insured you were completely soaked by the time you arrived. Following the trail back out was next to impossible! The man then assured us that there was, in fact, another way. It was a far better way. It might not seem to be at first, but it was the only route a sensible person would follow once they heard of it.

Several hours later my son-in-law and I stood at the edge of this beautiful lake, truly a work of art by the hand of God. But we did not appear to be! We were wet and sweaty, mud covered a good portion of our clothing, and red marks from the slap of branches against our arms and face showed clearly. And we had reached a unanimous decision. That man was right! That “trail” was not the way to travel!

Later, with the afternoon sun beginning to drop towards the horizon, we determined we had rested enough that we would see if we could find our way out of this secluded spot. The man had told us that if we would simply go into the tall timber on the east side of the lake and begin to zigzag back and forth beneath the trees, we should be able to spot a tiny piece of yellow tape which had been tied to a tree. When we found that first one we could look ahead of us and we should be able to see another one. By following the pieces of tape, which marked out a trail unknown to many people, we would be led out of the rugged country in which the lake rested and find ourselves in a short time, high on a ridge top near where our pickup was parked. And he was correct! The hike out, though it was a little further in distance, took much less time and we were in much better physical shape than we had been after that downhill “slide” into the lake which appeared so easy!

In the Bible, in the Book of Proverbs 3:5-6, we find the words, “Trust in the Lord will all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

The trail has been marked out well for us! Which path will you choose?

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