While hiking the many trails of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, my husband and I learned something highly valuable: It is easier to hike with a walking stick!
advantages of the walking stick were first discovered (by us!) on the
Coastal Trail, a 9 kilometer trail that skirts the Atlantic coast of the
national park. We found that the walking stick helps us in just about
every aspect of hiking, including:
Climbing: Provides leverage and support so that the legs don't
need to do all the work.
Provides stability during slippery descents.
Tripping: Catches you and keeps you
4. Crossing rocky trails:
Gives you added footage.
5. Boulder Hopping:
Provides stability for slippery surfaces as well as security for making
long jumps from one boulder to another.
Traversing heavily-forested trails: When held out in front,
breaks down cobwebs across the trail.
Avoiding poisonous plants: Pushes poison ivy aside.
Resting: Provides something to lean on
while catching your breath.
Helps to ward off potentially dangerous wild animals along the trail.
Life sometimes takes us over smooth, level trails. Much more
frequently, however, it takes us over rough, steep paths where we are
left fearing for our footing, wondering if we will have the strength to
arrive at the end, and afraid of the consequences we might find along
the way. There is little scarier than the diagnosis of cancer or heart
problems, for example; and when we lose our beloved spouse to death, or
even to divorce, we are left feeling as if our feet will slip off the
designated trail. Is there a "walking stick" for the paths life dictates
that we walk?
Jesus said, "Come to me, all who labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28 ESV). Wait a
minute. Didn't the walking stick provide moments of rest, brief breaks
for catching our breath?
Jesus said He, "...will not let your
foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber." (Ps. 121:3 ESV).
Isn't that what the walking stick was good for on the rocks and rough
Jesus said, "It is the LORD who goes before you."
(Deut. 31:8 ESV). Isn't that how the walking stick helped us with those
cobwebs and Poison Ivy?
Jesus said, "Fear not, for I am with
you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will
help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah
41:10 ESV). Isn't this how the walking stick could have helped us
against the wild animals? Isn't this how it helped us over the slippery
rocks and steep descents?
It's true that we did not always fully
appreciate our walking sticks. Because we weren't used to carrying them,
we sometimes forgot them in the car. There were other times when we
chose to leave them behind. After all, they kind of got in the way of
taking pictures; and when the trail was level and smooth, the stick was
just added weight...
In the same way, when we accept Jesus as our
Lord and Savior, we have access to all the advantages of the "walking
stick" for our walk through life. We so often, however, tend to "leave
it in the car", so to speak. Even though He is there, we don't ask Him
to help us. Or we ask, but we continue to worry and fret. We refuse to
lean upon Him for our rest. We try to carry it all ourselves. Just like
the walking stick did us no good when we left it in the car, in order to
safely traverse the trials of life, we need to use our spiritual
"walking stick": we need to learn to rely on Jesus in all
As we hike through the trials life has placed in
front of us, let's remember that in the same way the walking stick is a
priceless piece of hiking equipment, Jesus Christ is our ultimate in
help. Let's don't leave Him "in the car". Let's allow Him to help us
make it through!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
access the entire "Lessons From Cape Breton" mini-series, please click