Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lost in the Woods

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. - Jesus (John 14:6)

When I was around 12, my Dad moved our family from the suburbs of Minneapolis to a rural area of Northern Minnesota.  He’d started a new job there working in the iron mines.  I’ve always had a bit of wanderlust in me, so I began exploring the woods surrounding our home.  Before long, I’d become a pretty decent woodsman able to successfully navigate my way through the dense underbrush of Minnesota’s jungle-like forests.  I didn’t think much of it at the time, but those skills are actually not easy to learn.  In fact, the U.S. Army teaches these basic skills to their soldiers and officers.

I moved away from home when I was 20 and have lived in cities ever since.  When I was in my early 40s, I’d gone home to visit my folks and my little sister happen to have her four-wheeler there.  Impulsively, I jumped on her four-wheeler and took off into the woods following a trail.  I mistakenly got off the main trail and found myself in a dense area of underbrush.  I tried to put the four-wheeler in reverse in order to get back on the main trail but it wouldn’t go into gear.  (I didn’t know it at the time, but the reverse mechanism on her four-wheeler was broken.)  I kept going deeper into the forest hoping to find a place to turn around but couldn't.  I eventually got stuck and couldn’t move any further and finally admitted to myself that I was lost!

I started to panic a bit, but then pulled out my cell phone and used satellite navigation to find my way back home on foot.  (As an aside, I actually stumbled upon a newly born deer fawn; I was really in the boonies now.)  When I got home, I called my nephew Micah to come and save me.  He’s a much better woodsman than I ever was, and he was able to save the day.

Learning to navigate our way through the dense underbrush of the forests of life is not easy either.  When we’re young, our parents try to teach us right from wrong, how to live, and how to find our own way.  They may bring us to church, teach us to have faith in God, and guide us along the way.  But as we grow older and get out on our own, we oftentimes forget the basics of navigating through life and may lose our way.  When that happens, call on God to save you and show you the the way home.  God is just a prayer away.

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