Bill Couchenour | Monday, May 30, 2011
I love the backcountry, especially the mountains. There is something about trekking in remote areas with magnificent scenery that takes your breath away – literally and figuratively. But roaming in the backcountry can be dangerous if you’re not familiar with route-finding. The path can become obscured over rock, glaciers and other barren areas. To mark the way in those areas cairns are erected. Cairns are simply rocks carefully piled to form a marker. These markers have been used since ancient times to assist travelers or to signal special places.
The challenge is that, if you’re not familiar with spotting cairns, it’s easy to get lost. The cairns are made from indigenous rocks so they blend in to the surroundings. It’s easy to walk right past one if you don’t know what you’re looking for. (Can you find the cairn in the picture above?) In some places you can be completely lost after missing just one cairn. Yet, when you find one, you know it’s a cairn because you it’s clearly something someone intentionally erected.
I think that’s a little like what it is to follow God. He tends not to use neon signs or flashing lights. He has used writing on the wall in the past and even a talking donkey but, in my experience, his leading is much more subtle. The signs are indigenous so if I’m not paying attention I can walk right past them and even off a cliff. Prayer – listening prayer – seems vital for finding God’s cairns. I suppose that writing on the wall would make it easier but it wouldn’t do anything for our faith. And isn’t a relationship with God at the heart of why we’re created?
My guess is that there are cairns are all around us. Maybe we miss them because of lack of prayer, practice or the perspective that comes from being in the Bible. We can know that God has called us to join his mission. It is a journey that’s designed to spread love and hope, joy and peace along the way. If you feel like you’re at a place where the path is obscured, look for the cairns.
BTW – The cairn is in the lower left hand part of the picture between the bush and the boulder:
- Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.