It Is Easy To Get Lost!

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - Gene Linzey Re­flec­tions on Life

I spent three hours work­ing through a re­search prob­lem, and I needed to stretch my legs and clear my mind.

“Pre­cious, I’m go­ing for a short walk. Would you like to go with me?”

“It’s 9 o’clock, it’s dark, it’s cold, and no. I don’t want to go for a walk.”

“The walk will be good for you.”

“It’ll be bet­ter for me to stay warm here in the RV.”

“Okay; I’ll be back in 10 or 15 min­utes. I love you.”

“I love you, too. Take your jacket.”

I didn’t take the jacket be­cause it was still 69 de­grees out­side; but I didn’t re­al­ize it was so dark! I turned on the RV porch light but it is quite dim, and I couldn’t see the moon. Oh well, I’ll just step care­fully, and my feet will let me know where the path is.

After walk­ing about 20 paces past the car, I quickly stopped. Some­thing wasn’t right.

I reached out and felt prickly pine nee­dles that I couldn’t see. I also couldn’t see my hand. I rubbed my foot on the ground and dis­cov­ered I was off the path. Be­cause it was dark and I didn’t use the porch light as a point of ref­er­ence, I hadn’t walked in a straight line.

Well, what do you know? I thought. I’m off the road. My plan didn’t work out the way I thought it would. Hmmm … Carol might gloat over this.

I looked around and saw the RV porch light, but I still couldn’t find the moon. (It hid­ing be­hind some clouds.)

Walk­ing to­ward the light, I re­turned to the RV.

“I thought you were go­ing to be gone for 10 or 15 min­utes. What hap­pened? Where’s your jacket?”

“I didn’t need the coat, but it’s a good thing you didn’t go with me.”

“I know: it’s cold and dark.” Here comes the gloat­ing. “Be­lieve-it-or-not, Pre­cious, un­less I was look­ing to­ward the RV, I couldn’t see my hand in front of me.”

“You were smart to come back. I told you it was … oh, never mind. You want some cof­fee?”

She didn’t gloat. I love her! “Yes, thank you.”

That three-minute episode in the dark re­minded me of a re­cent news re­port. A man on a four-day back-coun­try hike found the body of a woman who had been miss­ing for over two months. She didn’t file a plan with the for­est rangers, nor had she told any­one where she planned to hike; and a com­pass was not in her back­pack.

With­out proper plan­ning, it is easy to get lost!

What do we need for a suc­cess­ful out­ing? First, tell some­one where you’re go­ing.

Next, the web­site for REI co-op lists 10 es­sen­tial things: nav­i­ga­tion (such as map, com­pass, GPS, etc.), head­lamp and ex­tra bat­ter­ies, sun pro­tec­tion, first aid kit, knife, fire-starters, shelter, ex­tra food, wa­ter and cloth­ing.

The REI au­thor said, “The ex­act items from each sys­tem that you take can be tai­lored to the trip you’re tak­ing. For ex­am­ple, on a short day-hike that’s easy to nav­i­gate, you might choose to take a map, com­pass and PLB, but leave your GPS and al­time­ter be­hind. On a longer, more com­plex out­ing, you might de­cide you want all those tools to help you find your way. When de­cid­ing what to bring, con­sider fac­tors like weather, dif­fi­culty, du­ra­tion and dis­tance from help.”

That is good ad­vice, but many peo­ple are short­sighted and don’t in­vest the time to learn about it.

I find the same goes for peo­ple travers­ing this jour­ney we call life. They are raised to fend for them­selves, and fight to get ahead — of­ten by step­ping on oth­ers. But they do not plan for the longer jour­ney: the one that be­gins at death. With­out plan­ning for this fi­nal trip, it is easy to get lost — per­ma­nently.

What do we need? The map is the Bi­ble and is also our most valu­able point of ref­er­ence. Food and wa­ter are wis­dom and knowl­edge we learn in the Bi­ble. The head­lamp is the Holy Spirit; He will help us see life prop­erly and walk straight. Cloth­ing is the hel­met of sal­va­tion, breast­plate of right­eous­ness, and the rest of the spir­i­tual ar­mor found in Eph­e­sians 6:11-18. God, Him­self, is our shelter.

Your most im­por­tant trip is ahead of you. Plan well for it by read­ing the Bi­ble and learn­ing to live for the Lord. Don’t get lost.

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