[377 words]

Everyone who has ever spent any time hiking or hunting in the forests of our land, knows of the possibility of getting lost. Some time ago, a teenager hunting in the Rocky Mountains with his father, discovered firsthand what it means to be lost.

The young man did not see game in his usual hunting area so he tried a new trail and forgot how to make his way back. After a while, he was lost. Time and again, the young man’s father had taught him: “if you ever get lost, sit still and listen for three shots. Then fire three shots in response.” But the teenage made the mistake of trying to find his way out and the more he hiked, the deeper he got into unfamiliar territory.

Soon it was near sunset so he gathered some wood and built a fire to keep back the bitter mountain air. He spent a cold night trying to sleep next to that fire. The next day, he tried to find a familiar landmark but soon found that he had wandered in a circle and was back at his old fire pit. So he built another fire and spent a cold and hungry second night on the mountain

The next day, he awoke to hear three shots from a gun. At first, he didn’t know what to do. Then his father’s training kicked in and he lifted his gun and fired three times. Before long, the young man was rescued.

In a way, all people are like that young man. We wander around not knowing what to do to be saved. We hear so many human opinions. But then we heed the Heavenly Father’s instructions as found in the Holy Spirit-inspired Bible. We obey the gospel plan of salvation (see 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).

When the boy raised his own gun and fired those three shots—he did something to obtain his own salvation from the forest. But that does not mean that being found was any less of a gift.

Likewise, when we come to Christ through faith, repentance, confession and baptism, it is an appeal for our Heavenly Father’s saving grace (1 Peter 3:21). This, too, is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Larry Fitzgerald
Woodlawn church of Christ
Abilene, TX

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