The cairn as a guide for our path.
“Hikers use cairns as a form of navigation by placing loose stones in small piles and adding as time goes. This however has been of great concern as inexperienced hikers have unwittingly disrupted the cairns which confuses more experienced hikers in the Scottish back country who solely depend on cairns for guidance back.”1
The cairns Jim and I have seen are usually along well-worn paths. I wonder if we would be able to trust a cairn that indicated we should turn from the wide, well-traveled path to follow a narrow, unclear one. Would we have enough confidence to follow our guiding cairn? Would we have enough courage to go in that direction, when the wide and worn path seems to be safer and surer?
We would feel more confident if we knew who placed the cairn, wouldn’t we?
If we knew that the cairn was placed by an experienced hiker – one who is familiar with the area, who knows the terrain, gradient, and challenges of the path, who has walked this trail and tried other ones – we would have more confidence about this new path.
Or if we knew that the cairn was placed by a caring friend who knows us well – one who wants to help us find our way, who understands which routes are better suited for us, who knows our strengths and preferences – we could more fully trust this cairn’s new direction.
Today we thank God for our mentors, for the cairn-placers who have loved and guided us along our life’s way. Some mentors have taught us with gracious words of wisdom, others have inspired us with their excellent way of living. They have walked this path before us and cared enough to share their insights and help for our journeys. Their examples and experiences have become guiding cairns for ours. Good mentors are precious gifts of God.
In Christ, we have our most helpful mentor. He has both the gifts of wisdom and experience, as well as his intimate knowledge of us. Jesus has walked this path before us. He also knows us very well. He will provide exactly what we need to find our way, in the best way for us to do so.
Today we place our stone in gratitude for the cairn builders who took the time to mark our path and guide the way – for us, and for those who will follow. We especially thank Jesus, who has journeyed before us and who accompanies us even now, providing cairns to direct our steps all along the way.
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you.
He will not fail you or abandon you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8 (AMP)
(As you place this stone consider these words.) “This stone is to assure me of Christ’s continual guidance and direction, especially in this area of my life…”
All-knowing and guiding God,
I place this rock with gratitude for all of the ways you have directed me along my life’s way. You have guided me with your words, in the life of Jesus, through your Spirit within, from my experiences, and by the kind and generous mentors in my life. May this stone remind me that you will lead me when I am attentive and watchful, and you will forgive and restore me when I am not. Enable me also to build helpful and hopeful cairns for others, as a mentor and a friend. Amen.
Next week’s cairn focus will be The Course Correction