A clearly marked path is priceless.
I got a rude reminder of that in the 2009 Amphibious Warrior Adventure Race. An
Part of the task for my brother and me was to reach checkpoints that were plotted on a map. Unfortunately, three miles of that was to be done by canoe. Did you know that there are no road signs or yellow lines on a lake?
Several words hinted that I didn’t belong in this race. The first was the word “race”. Slow people don’t do well in races. Then there was “adventure.” Normally, I like adventure, but this was organized by U.S. Marines. Their dictionary has some additional definitions for adventure!
“Canoe” also should have gotten my attention. I had been in one before. But that was back when we burned a log to hollow it out. And, in my previous experience, I paddled down a narrow stream. It wasn’t difficult to steer it between the banks. But this adventure race was out in open water, and the banks were very irregular. From a distance, trees all look pretty much the same. We paddled hard for an hour and half, deciding finally that finding four of the five checkpoints was adventure enough.
On to the running! Now we were on familiar ground. Well, ground at least. The race director said that the trail would be clearly marked by orange and black ribbons. I never knew what kidders those marine sergeants are!
No roads. No signs. Only an occasional ribbon. People were running everywhere through the woods like animals fleeing a forest fire, but nobody knew where the fire was. Some ran the opposite direction from us. I still don’t know whether we were lost or they were! At least we could rest during those long pauses scratching our heads and pondering our map.
I was arrogant to think I could easily find my own way. I was frustrated when I couldn’t. Many people live that way every day.
Life can be a lot like crossing open water with no landmarks, or running through the woods without a marked path. It doesn’t have to be. God has marked the course for us; if we’ll pay attention, we can find our way safely.
May our prayer today be “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths” (Psalm 25:4). May we remember how priceless is a clearly marked path.