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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Trial and Error

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:105

One day on our family vacation, we decided to go canoeing at the state park. There were five of us, so we rented two canoes. My husband climbed into the first canoe with our two youngest children. My oldest son and I got into the second.

The sun sparkled on the water, and a soft breeze cooled our faces. The day was perfect. We dipped our paddles into the water and started out. The only problem was that none of us had ever operated a canoe before.

Before we’d gone ten yards, we were in trouble. Unable to control our direction, we crossed the floating rope that marked the swimming area and blundered in where boats were not allowed.

The startled swimmers parted like the Red Sea before Moses as they hurried to get out of our way. Trying to correct ourselves and exit the swimming area, we paddled hard on one side, but that resulted in our turning the canoes in circles. From a safe distance the nervous swimmers watched us go this way and that.

Finally, wobbling from side to side and moving unsteadily forward, we got beyond the swimmers and made our erratic way down river.

Looking back, our big mistake was thinking we didn’t need instruction. While it may be possible to canoe without lessons, I don’t recommend it. Our trek down river was stressful and much tougher than it should have been.

Trial and error is a hard way to get anywhere.

God has given us an instruction book for life, the Bible. If we’re wise, we’ll read and apply what it says. When we follow God’s directions, we can avoid many foolish mistakes and their consequences.

Father, help us follow Your instruction book.


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