This 24

time-1739629_640Image by Gerd Altman Courtesy of Pixabay.

I have a friend who went through a pretty rough decade. She lost a son by suicide, her husband after twenty-five years and her godly father passed. I remember calling her when her father was failing and I asked her how she was doing. She said she was hanging on. Then she said two words that have stuck with me…this 24. She explained to me that she only had to live this 24 hours. She held on to her faith through everything she was going through one day at a time. When she was deep in the valleys, she held on to God’s hand moment by moment, hour by hour and day by day.

I took her advice to heart. When I walked through valleys, I reminded myself of her words…this 24. I then tried to push back the angst about tomorrow and the regrets of the past and focus on the one day I had been given. Jesus said it best when he said, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34

My friend continued to trust God, went back to school and became a Christian Counselor. She was able to help hundreds of people, either directly or indirectly, by sharing what she had learned in college and in her walk with The Father. Someone who has gone through the fire and come out the other side is a living testimony to the power and grace of God. Her experience has proved invaluable not only to me but to all the other people she has shared her wisdom with.

You may never get to know her or talk to her. That is why I am sharing one of the nuggets of wisdom she gave me about twenty years ago. If you’re going through a valley, I hope it speaks to you. Remember, hang on to the Father’s hand…you only have to live this 24!

Lost

Several years ago, my husband wanted to go out in the woods and use his compass to find a lake. We didn’t take a lot of provisions with us or a flashlight because we were just going to hike in and out during the daytime. We also did not tell anyone where we were going; so off we went. Instead of taking the road to the lake, we parked the car a few miles from the lake and my husband looked on his map and took a compass heading. We followed that heading through the woods until we reached the lake. It took a few hours to get in but all in all, it was a successful venture. 

We decided to follow the road back to the car and began to walk. What we didn’t know was that the road forked a little bit north of us, and that the road we were on was not the one we thought it was. After a while, we realized that the road was not taking us back to the car. We talked about what we should do since it was going to be dark in about an hour. We decided to backtrack to the place we left from at the lake. We would then follow the compass heading through the woods back to the car.

person holding compass

Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com

By the time we got to the lake, it was getting dark. Remember, my husband did not have a flashlight with him. In order to get out, he had me walk fifteen or twenty feet ahead of him, he would take a compass heading and have me move until I was in line with it. He would then come and stand where I was and then I would walk another fifteen or twenty feet. We did that for the next few hours. I would walk ahead, he would take the heading. I would move until I was on that heading, he would walk up to where I was standing and we would do it all over again. Over and over we did those same repetitious steps. 

The moon rose higher and illuminated the woods. I felt better about it, but knew we were “lost” and so I kept repeating Bible verses to myself, holding onto whatever I could until we got out of the woods. My husband wasn’t worried at all because he trusted the compass and knew that if we followed it, eventually we would come out of the woods by the car.

Finally, the woods cleared and we saw the road. We came out of the woods within about fifteen yards of the car. To say I was greatly relieved is an understatement. But I did learn something that day; I can trust the compass, and even if I don’t know where I am. The compass will always point me in the right direction. 

That experience was a great life lesson for me, both practically and spiritually. We, as finite humans, will sometimes find ourselves in situations where we feel we are lost in the woods. We cannot see our way out of it and it feels dark. We need to remember that our sense of direction will lie to us, our emotions will lie to us, but our compass will never lie to us. If we will keep our eyes on the Lord (the compass) and check with the map (the Word) we will be able to walk in the right direction and eventually we will get out of the situation we are in. We must learn not to rely on what we think is happening around us and try to find our own way out of whatever situation we are in. The book of Proverbs has a few great verses that explains this principle:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6.

For me…lesson learned…trust the Compass!

It’s Summer and I am going to reblog a few of my outdoor posts!

Don’t Trust the Sherpa Completely

In the middle of the Cascade Range in Oregon there is a group of mountains called The Three Sisters. Each one can be climbed, but the level of difficulty is different. The South Sister is supposed to be a fairly easy climb, the Middle Sister is a bit harder and the North Sister is a technical climb, meaning you will need mountain climbing equipment to make it to the top safely.

My husband met a man who took groups up the Middle Sister and he wanted to go again as he had climbed it when he was a teenager. We met the man and he told us what we would need to prepare for the climb. He said, “You won’t need an ice ax or crampons, just good boots. So okay, we were in. 

Several of us went including my back-packing buddy, Ann. It took several hours, but most of us were able to make it to the top. A few couldn’t quite make it up because they began to have problems with the altitude. They would be picked up on the way down.woman-1209866_1280 

The view from the top of the mountain was magnificent. Looking north, we could see several mountains in the Cascades including a few in Washington. Looking south we had a different panoramic view extending into California. We could see hundreds of miles in any direction. It was spectacular to say the least. We stayed up there for a while, then decided to descend.

There was another man in the group who was also a leader. He was going to take everyone down the mountain as the man we talked to wanted to glissade down one of the glaciers. My husband wanted to try it, and why Ann and I followed, I will never know. So off our Sherpa went. He took out his ice axe and went down. My husband followed without an ice axe and told us to be careful as there was a crevasse down at the bottom. Ann and I held hands as we slid down the glacier on our bottoms. My husband waited at the bottom to keep us from going into the crevasse.  Slowly, ever so slowly, we went down. Then we carefully walked across the glacier and got on the main path that led down the mountain.

adventure alpine climb cold

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To say that Ann and I were angry is an understatement. We felt that it wasn’t safe to go down the glacier without an ice ax and crampons would have been very helpful as we traversed the glacier. Should I have done more research before I went and not have totally relied on my Sherpa’s advice? Probably, yes. 

The leader that talked to us was right, of course. To go up and down the mountain normally you would not need extra equipment. To do anything else, it would have been wise to have it. That experience taught me not to trust my Sherpa completely. I learned that whatever situation I am in, I must take responsibility for myself and do my own research and decide what will be needed for whatever undertaking I intend to proceed with. Then, and only then, can I make an informed decision and be prepared for wherever I am going and whatever I am doing.hiking-1582295_1280 photo by cssharker courtesy of pixabay

It is unwise to follow blindly and trust anyone completely. Humans are fallible and anyone can give us wrong or incomplete information. We each need to be responsible for ourselves and not trust our Sherpa completely. After all, you never know when you will be in a situation where you need an ice axe or crampons (or anything else for that matter)!

Lost

Several years ago, my husband wanted to go out in the woods and use his compass to find a lake. We didn’t take a lot of provisions with us or a flashlight because we were just going to hike in and out during the daytime. We also did not tell anyone where we were going; so off we went. Instead of taking the road to the lake, we parked the car a few miles from the lake and my husband looked on his map and took a compass heading. We followed that heading through the woods until we reached the lake. It took a few hours to get in but all in all, it was a successful venture. 

We decided to follow the road back to the car and began to walk. What we didn’t know was that the road forked a little bit north of us, and that the road we were on was not the one we thought it was. After a while, we realized that the road was not taking us back to the car. We talked about what we should do since it was going to be dark in about an hour. We decided to backtrack to the place we left from at the lake. We would then follow the compass heading through the woods back to the car.

person holding compass

Photo by Valentin Antonucci on Pexels.com

By the time we got to the lake, it was getting dark. Remember, my husband did not have a flashlight with him. In order to get out, he had me walk fifteen or twenty feet ahead of him, he would take a compass heading and have me move until I was in line with it. He would then come and stand where I was and then I would walk another fifteen or twenty feet. We did that for the next few hours. I would walk ahead, he would take the heading. I would move until I was on that heading, he would walk up to where I was standing and we would do it all over again. Over and over we did those same repetitious steps. 

The moon rose higher and illuminated the woods. I felt better about it, but knew we were “lost” and so I kept repeating Bible verses to myself, holding onto whatever I could until we got out of the woods. My husband wasn’t worried at all because he trusted the compass and knew that if we followed it, eventually we would come out of the woods by the car.

Finally, the woods cleared and we saw the road. We came out of the woods within about fifteen yards of the car. To say I was greatly relieved is an understatement. But I did learn something that day; I can trust the compass, and even if I don’t know where I am. The compass will always point me in the right direction. 

That experience was a great life lesson for me, both practically and spiritually. We, as finite humans, will sometimes find ourselves in situations where we feel we are lost in the woods. We cannot see our way out of it and it feels dark. We need to remember that our sense of direction will lie to us, our emotions will lie to us, but our compass will never lie to us. If we will keep our eyes on the Lord (the compass) and check with the map (the Word) we will be able to walk in the right direction and eventually we will get out of the situation we are in. We must learn not to rely on what we think is happening around us and try to find our own way out of whatever situation we are in. The book of Proverbs has a few great verses that explains this principle:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6.

For me…lesson learned…trust the Compass!

 

Of Professors or Prophets…Who Should You Trust?

One of the first classes I took at the University was “After the Revolution, What?” It was an upper level Political Science course taught by one of the Chicago Seven. For those of you who don’t remember, there were seven men – political radicals, who were accused of conspiracy to riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. We were to read the books assigned and talk about what life would be like after the political revolution in America. The books assigned were politically to the far end of the left and the discussions were along those same veins. There was even an exercise you could participate in if you wanted extra-credit. One weekend a prison camp was set up and the students were to be the prisoners who had been condemned by the leaders of the revolution. I chose to skip the exercise as I didn’t want to entrust myself to the T.A.’s who were going to be the guards. The next week in class there were several disgruntled students who had been prisoners. Apparently they were not treated well; the young women were especially unhappy with the treatment they had received. 

books-3205452_1280

photo by geralt, courtesy of Pixabay

Within a week or so of taking the class, I realized that I did not agree with the things that were being taught and that I was reading about. There was little talk in class of non-violence when it came to getting your political agenda across. It was perfectly acceptable to force your will or political views upon the population by whatever means necessary, including force.

My first term I was also asked out by a visiting professor and I went on the first date. I did not want a second date and avoided the man; however he would call my dormitory and would conveniently show up where I was many times. I would not say he was a stalker, but whatever the category is right below stalker, he fit in. After two semesters there, I transferred to a different college.

Were all of my professors like that? No. I don’t recall any other negative experiences with my professors in college. Most of them taught their classes and had at least a minimal interest in seeing their students do well. But my first semester taught me a few lessons.

The first was to not accept as truth everything I was being taught. Some of what I heard was an agenda that was being pushed by a professor or his assistants. Just out of high school, I did not have a grip on how to disagree with them in an intelligent fashion and so I stayed quiet. But I did not believe what they were saying and just read the books and took the tests. They could teach me facts, but they didn’t necessarily teach me truth.

The second lesson I learned was not to trust a person just because he or she was in a position of authority. Everyone did not have my best interests at heart and there were more than a few educators out there who had the moral equivalence of an alley cat.

prophet-1602585_1280

photo by falco, courtesy of pixabay

By the time I was seventeen, I had a good understanding of right and wrong. I knew that forcing someone to assent to your beliefs by violence was wrong. I  didn’t have a thorough understanding of the Scriptures, but I knew they contained some universal truths that I could rely on and trust. I could use what I had been taught as a filter to sift through the new things I was hearing in class. Was it okay to treat people like animals in a prison camp? No. Was it okay to pursue people for your own selfish purposes? No.

Just as it was then, so it is for me today. I know that I can trust the Scriptures to teach me about moral basics like truth, justice, mercy and love. I can listen to a speaker and use my filter to see if the person is at trying to educate me or if he or she is trying to get an agenda across and is skewing the facts in order to prove their point. 

What about you? Who would you trust…the professors or the prophets?