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Warning Signs

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Proverbs 14:12

It said the area was closed…but closed to who? When we travelled up to Northern Indiana, it was so refreshing to go somewhere…fresh. We have travelled to a lot of places and some of them in other parts of the world. Well, given the fact the airlines are struggling these days with delayed and cancelled flights, we decided that wherever we went we would drive. We looked for a place within a day’s drive and discovered the Indiana Dunes National Park. It is located on the shores of the south end of Lake Michigan and is known for massive sand dunes and for the great hiking trails there. Well, we were in.

When we arrived, we realized we had indeed stepped into something good. We loved the area and because it was post Labor Day, the crowds had just about all gone home. Let the adventure begin. After settling in and checking out the welcome center we decided to go see one of the must see places—Mount Baldy. Mr. Baldy is an active dune…which means it is still moving and growing almost every day. The climb to the top was to be challenging and yet rewarding with a beautiful view of the lake at the top. As we were driving to the trailhead, we read that a ranger had to accompany you on the trail to the top. Best we could tell this day or any day we were going to be there, rangers were not available. Hmmm.

My man logic kicked in and I soon surmised that the ranger was only there to protect some rare beetle or fly and that real men didn’t need rangers anyway. We took the trail that led to the lake and that later branched off if you were going to the top. When we got to the point where the trail divided, there was a rope across it and several warning signs about needing a ranger and that the dunes were in fact dangerous. I’m sure there was a sign about protecting the dunes too. Well, I was just about to go around the rope and I heard a still, small voice. At first, I thought I was having an Elijah experience and God was whispering but I soon realized it was my wife Judy telling me it was a bad idea. For once I actually listened to the still small voice.

We continued down the main trail which led to the beach and were rewarded with a magnificent view of Lake Michigan. The water was a rich blue and the small waves gently crashed ashore. Had the sand been a little whiter you would think you were in Panama City Beach. We lingered a while, enjoying the view, and then headed back to the car. Judy, ever the information gatherer, decided to see what all the fuss was about with the “ranger” thing. Turns out there was more to the story than we knew.

Not too long ago, a family was hiking the dune when suddenly their small son just disappeared. At first, they thought he was playing around and hiding but they soon realized this was no game. They heard a faint cry and then found a small opening in the sand. The young boy had fallen into an open chamber in the dune and was twelve feet underground. While he was still able to speak, things looked pretty dire. They ended up bringing in some heavy-duty equipment and hours later were able to rescue him.

The story had a happy ending. Despite sand in his lungs, the young boy did make a full recovery and an unknown danger became known in the process. From that day forward, any trips to the top of the dune required a ranger’s escort. You see, the rangers know the dunes and can better spot dangerous areas. Suddenly, those warning signs that I almost ignored made plenty of sense. They weren’t about rare flies or beetles; they were about protecting…me.

Something I knew was reenforced that day near Mt. Baldy. I know my life is filled with warning signs…on the roads, on medications I take, near my electrical breaker box at home and in my car. The problem is I too often want to ignore them. After all they are meant for someone else…right? And then there is the Bible. God kindly fills His Book with warning signs trying to tell us to watch out for this or that—not for my discomfort, not to make my life miserable but rather for my good, my protection.

The old, old television show was called, “Father Knows Best” and I am certain my Dearest Daddy always knows best. Perhaps we should listen…perhaps we should read His book. There’s an interesting verse there that says the ways of men (notice it does say men because we usually are the warning ignorers) may seem right but often they end in death. Bummer. So perhaps we should take heed and pay attention to the warning signs around us…especially the ones in the Bible. Trust me, He does know best, and gratefully, He will be there when we need a little rescue—He’s got this.” Bro. Dewayne