I was about 10 years old when I first heard about the Appalachian Trail. My sister and I would spend every summer with my grandparents in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Often times we would picnic beside the trail. I have a picture of Nana and me standing beside one of the signs marking a trail crossing. My sister and I would hike a mile or so in and then have to return back to the picnic site. I always wanted to see what was around the next corner.
Skip 40 years to when I started hiking on the Appalachian Trail. As of today, I have hiked over 300 miles. I only have 1,890 miles to go!
I took a disastrous weekend hike one summer. It was just a short 16 mile hike from Neils Gap to Hog Pen Gap, but we went unprepared. We did not take a map. The Appalachian Trail is pretty simple. You just follow the white blazes that are painted on trees, rocks or posts. Blue blazed usually lead to water. Simple, like follow the Yellow Brick Road, but different.
The problem was the drought. The springs were dried up and we were on the trail with no water. Finally we saw a sign for a shelter that was a mile off the trail. We dropped our packs and took everything that would hold water.
When we finally returned to our packs we ran into a park ranger. She told us that we had only been about ¼ of a mile from a stream that crossed the trail.
If we had used our maps instead of our lack of common sense, we would have had water and all would have been fine. But we relied on ourselves to get us through instead of doing what we knew was right and safe.
It reminds me of how we go through our lives, one step in front of the other. We love God, no doubt. The problem is, we don’t consult the Manual, the Guide book, our Map. When trouble comes, we end up lost. We don’t grow as we should and we miss out on so many of Gods blessings.
Today, there really is no good reason why we don’t read our Bible. There are hundreds of Apps that have every manner of Bible and Bible study.
My prayer for us is that we will consult the guidebook every day to find out the direction God would have us to go. Remember, His word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.
By the way, I never hiked again without a map and guidebook!