The cerulean water looked as inviting as a cool Florida spring. It’s beauty was mesmerizing but looks can be deceiving. The pool of water, highly acidic and a scalding 199 degrees, was deadly. Like many American families, our family toured the great National Parks out west. It was an epic vacation; the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Teton National Park, Mt. Rushmore and the gem of them all, Yellowstone National Park.
Each park we visited had signs warning of possible dangers. At the Grand Canyon, the warning was to stay within the foot-high wall lest you slip and fall into the canyon. I recall having to leave the area when some tourists in high heeled shoes stepped over the barrier to get closer to the rim of the canyon for a better photo. Yikes!
Nowhere were the warning signs more evident than in the thermal areas of Yellowstone National Park.
The thermal features of Yellowstone were fascinating. One pool would be turquoise, one yellow and another, a pot of bubbling mud. A boardwalk was built over the thermal area so you could safely take a closer look. I was very thankful that our children were eleven and nine at the time. I had heart palpitations imagining myself trying to keep up with a couple of toddlers. You know, the ones who balk at holding Mommy or Daddy’s hand while attempting to wriggle away.
The warnings were very clear though. You must stay on the designated path in order to be safe. Straying off the path could result in injury or even death.
Sadly, that is exactly what happened earlier this year when a 23 year-old stepped off the boardwalk to take a closer look at one of the springs. He slipped and plunged into a spring in the Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest thermal area in Yellowstone as his sister watched in horror. Tragically, the young man did not heed the warnings and it cost him his life. You can read about it here.
We appreciate the warning signs national parks post, signs to warn us of dangers we may not be aware of. We come to expect these reminders. We would not consider Yellowstone, or any other national park, mean-spirited or kill-joys for posting the warnings of danger. As a parent, I was grateful for the information about the dangers present.
A believer in Jesus Christ, sees things through a Biblical worldview. He or she considers the Bible to be the Word of God. There are many, many wonderful promises in the Bible – salvation, eternity in heaven and a life of hope to name a few. But, there are also many warnings. Our heavenly Father set out a plan for our lives. He set out parameters and boundaries for us, a boardwalk for life, so to speak. There are dozens of verses that speak of the wisdom of staying on this path and the danger of straying from it. (Do a search of verses with the word path here. There are quite a few in Psalms and Proverbs).
Is God mean-spirited or hateful for issuing these warnings? Absolutely not. He loves us and wants what is best for us. He does not want any to perish. 2 Peter 3:9
The main mission of the Christian is to do all we can to point people to our loving God and savior. Our motivation is love and concern for our fellow man. We don’t want to see people harmed by straying off the path of God’s plan. Sometimes it may mean doing the uncomfortable or unpopular – pointing out the warnings in God’s word. So why is it that when we do that, we are accused of being hateful, mean-spirited or bigots?
I realize this is meaningless to the one who does not believe that the Bible or the warnings in it are true. My question to them is “What if it is?”
Therefore, watch carefully how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise Ephesians 5:15 WEB