Deep in the Allagash Wilderness, my friends and I met a gentleman and his two sons at an overnight camp.

English: Morris 16' canoe
A canoe resembling one I had shared with our leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My friends and I were in our last year as Boy Scouts on a week-long wilderness canoe trip with our leader, a former park naturalist. Forty years ago, the Allagash Wilderness had three roads: one that led to the launch point, one to the pick up point a hundred miles down stream, a logging road that crossed near the mid-point, and nothing in between them.

Before retiring for that evening when we had met that gentleman with his grandsons, we discussed the river and our plans for the next day. Our leader had a set of detailed topographical maps. That gentleman had a gas station road map. It adequately showed each of the various lakes and the river, but it made no mention of campsites, the ratings of the rapids or of the waterfall.

Our plans included portaging around that waterfall. The gentleman was glad we had met each other, for before we parted company in the morning our leader had drawn on his map the location of the waterfall and of the swiftest rapids.

In many ways the Bible serves as a map for life, showing us what to avoid and what to seek. It is possible to get through life without reading the Bible. Some people do this with much success. But knowing of potential hazards and how others persevered, enhances life.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
— Psalm 119:105 (NRSV)

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