Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Plans and Steps

Tragedy recently hit the Appalachian Trail in southwest Virginia.

This hits a bit close to home for me because I've met some hikers from the Trail before. Four of them in Virginia had once gone into town to get supplies for a couple weeks, and we're heading back to the trail.

Trail names are a thing. I never knew about that until these people introduced themselves with names that sounded like they were characters out of Peter Pan. I don't remember them all now because they were so far out of the normal names I was expecting during introductions.

What's especially tragic about this story is that the murderer had actually been arrested before killing hikers on the trail. “Sheriff Mike Hensley of Unicoi County, Tennessee, said he and his deputies did everything they could to keep Jordan locked up,” but he could not because the hiker “was not charged with assault because none of the hikers were willing to testify in court.”

Sometimes people are not willing to testify because they don't want to be considered a snitch, and “snitches get stitches.” We know this was not their reason because “They were on the trail walking and they didn't want to come back.”

Yes, the Trail is 2,100 miles long; yes, hiking it is an accomplishment; and yes, trekking back to testify in court feels like the opposite of both of those things. No, testifying in court is not fun, nor does it feel like progress in a monumental task

As this story demonstrates, however, what how should one weigh one against the other? Is getting dangerous hikers off the trail worth a few lost days of hiking? Is retreat on the trail worth the life of one's fellow hikers?

“A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). A man may plan to hike the Appalachian Trail, but the Lord may have other tasks for him along the way.

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