On a recent walk up on Seven Mountains, we came across this....
At first, my inclination was to show mock horror and say to my wife, "WHOA, look! a gate!!!" We walked past the sign and I just had to go back to snap a picture of what I thought to be hilarious overkill. Seriously, as we walked toward the gate, one would have had to be blind to not see the black gate with yellow reflective tape wrapped around the bars! Even on our rainy dreary walk in the woods, the gate stuck out like a sore thumb.
I have been thinking a lot about the sign, the gate, and the rationale behind the pre-warning of a "gate ahead" message and then it hit me.
Not everyone who sees the sign would be walking; some would be on four-wheelers, others would be speeding on snowmobiles. Not everyone who witnesses the sign would do so in clear daylight conditions. Some would approach this sign in the darkness; others would be navigating through thick fog. I now appreciate the sign that forewarns of a gate ahead. I understand that not everyone enjoys the same conditions and understanding of their surroundings.
I am rethinking the sign placement on this Seven Mountains trail and I am glad the message is offered. The sign is saying, "Careful, slow down, there is an impediment ahead. Navigate with caution."
Since that moment when the sign made sense to me, I have thought back through my life to those people who were warning signs alongside my road of life. Parents and grandparents, pastors, Sunday school teachers, school teachers, aunts and uncles, all taught and instructed me to live well but to be aware of possible dangers and their consequences. I've always felt a steady sense of right and wrong.
Imagine if we would be flying up the pictured path at 2 AM on our snowmobile in a dense early March fog. What would be left of our bodies as the impact between us and the immovable gate occurred? Thank God for that sign, right?
Take a moment to think back to all those people who loved us enough to warn us and point out dangers. At the time, we may have thought, "Oh great, another person to tell ME how to live my life!" Now, looking back, we should offer a humble thank you to those who loved us enough to teach and instruct us.
Moving forward through Lent means we are looking deep inside of our hearts. It means we are thinking of our life to this point. Let's give thanks for God's provision of mentors and instructors who cared enough to point out things that were in our blind spot. Warnings are only effective if we heed them. Who are you lovingly and gently instructing? Who are you caring for?