Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Getting Back on the Right Path
Last week my oldest son Taylor and I hiked up Mt. Mansfield, which is Vermont's highest peak. It was both a difficult and a rewarding experience as we scrambled up and down rocks for two days. We intended to travel up the Hasleton Trail, which is considered a moderate trail and not very difficult. However, almost immediately after we entered the woods we got on the wrong path and ended up going up a 4 D (as in difficult times four!) trail. We misunderstood the blaze signals and once we got on the wrong path we did not even realize what we had done for nearly three hours.
What we did know was that what we thought was a supposed to be a moderate trail just kept getting harder and harder. At one point I was thinking that if that was a moderate trail, I could not imagine what the difficult one must have looked like. Neither my son nor I realized we were on the wrong trail until we came out near the top of the mountain over a mile away from where we should have been. What a surprise to discover we had been on the wrong trail the entire day without realizing!
When we eventually intersected with the right trail near the top of the mountain, we were able to use our map and some blaze markings left by others to help us get back on the right track. Once we got back on the right path and understood which blaze markings we were supposed to be following, it was much easier to stay on the right path and move forward much faster.
As I have reflected on our experience, I find many parallels to real life. It is easy to get on the wrong road in life without even realizing it. One simple mistake and suddenly we are miles from where we intended to be and are not even sure how we got there. Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly what path we are even on. When life gets more and more complicated and increasingly difficult with each passing week, we suddenly realize that something is wrong with the direction we are headed in life. That can be a painful and embarrassing realization for many of us.
Fortunately, for most of us, at some point we make it to some type of crossroads in life and realize where we went wrong. At that point, we have the opportunity to get back on the right path. In real life, our map is the Bible. The Bible contains timeless principles for healthy and happy living. In real life, the blaze markings we follow are the encouragement and support of other Christians who have gone before us. They share their experiences and life stories with us and help us find direction in our own lives. Following the teachings of the Bible and the receiving encouragement from other Christians will help us correct our mistakes and begin to head in the right direction once again.