Thursday, October 4, 2007


Is there ever a time when a compass is useless? Outdoorsmen will readily answer in the affirmative. One can carry a compass into the wilderness and become hopelessly lost. A compass, though carried on the person, is useless if one does not take a compass bearing before going into the bush. This is true, especially on a day when there is overcast.

Ralph Story of Prince George was lost. He wandered for two days in the British Columbia wilderness – over forty hours. Eventually he walked out; he covered over thirty miles on foot. When he was in the tall timber, he could not obtain a bearing from the sun, nor could he believe his compass was functioning properly. He said, “I could not see the sun; the timber was dense. I prayed to God.”

When the sun was high, he climbed a tree and attempted to take a bearing. Inadvertently he came upon a blazed trail that fortunately led to cat skinner Chris Winter and East Fraser Logging Camp. Ralph Story said, “I asked the Lord to keep me calm.”

When a man goes into the woods, he should always check by compass the road, or river, or mountain range he is leaving. In which direction- east and west or north and south – does it lie? He must do this in order to return to his approximate starting point. On a clear day he can double check his bearing by the sun. But he must take his first compass reading before going into the bush or his compass will be useless.

Many a man has been helplessly lost with a compass in his pocket. Twice I have been lost in the British Columbia wilderness. Each time I failed to take the first necessary compass reading. Each time there was an overcast. Fortunately I was not in too deep and made my way out.

When a man travels through the wilderness of life, he must also have a compass. It is the Word of God - the Bible. But the Compass is of no value whatever unless he first takes a Compass bearing. To have the Book in his possession is not enough. The Book must first be opened and a reading sincerely taken. If the life-traveller does not do this, he is already hopelessly lost.

Open the Book. Take a reading. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Paul said, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph.2:8, 9).

This is the first reading you must take. It is the starting point. The Holy Spirit will make it real to your heart.

When a man has believed the first Compass reading (accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour), he must not even then simple carry the Compass (the Bible) with him through life’s wilderness. He must refer to it again and again. To rely on his own reasoning’s is not enough. He must go by the Word of God.

If one does not look to his Compass continually, he will wander aimlessly in life’s wilderness when eh overcasts of doubts and fears arise. Even experienced life-travellers both must look to the Compass again and again. This fact cannot be stressed too strongly for “God’s Word giveth life,” and then directs us in the way that we should go.

Have you taken the first Compass reading? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Are you now going by the Book?

Stories of the North - Author unknown

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