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Pastor Bob Solon

Hope Wesleyan Church

It finally happened. After a year of planning and anticipation, my son and I went to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota for his senior trip. Two guys in the great outdoors for five days. The weather was gorgeous. he mile-long portages were challenging. The time with my son was priceless. As I’ve reflected on our journey, I compiled a top 10 list of lessons I’ve learned from this trip of a lifetime.

Here goes:

10. Begin with the end in mind. The goal of this trip was to enjoy time with my son before he graduates high school and launches off into the future. The memories we now share can never be taken from us. How often in life do we miss the most important moments because we fail to see the big picture? The Psalmist said, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

9. You will go further, faster with a friend. While the weather was beautiful, we did face our fair share of wind and had to navigate whitecaps on Thursday Bay. The backpacks weighed 60 pounds apiece, along with other gear, and a canoe to carry. It might be possible to do that alone, but why would you? We should, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

8. You’re leaving a mark so make it a good one. On the western shore of Crooked Lake, just north of Lower Basswood Falls, are pictographs painted by Indians hundreds of years ago. How they remain after all that time, I do not know. But I do know we are all leaving a “mark,” either a good one or bad one. We make a mark with our words and our choices. If we seek to honor God in all we do and say, we can leave a lasting impression that others can use to find their way to the Lord.

7. Less is often more. No cell coverage or Internet for five days? Are you kidding? Honestly, it was one of the best parts of the trip. Being able to step away from the distractions and clear my mind was a refreshing time for me to reconnect with my son as well as the Lord.

6. Some mistakes are unrecoverable. A sobering site we came across was at Wheelbarrow Falls. An empty canoe was pinned against the rocks at the top of the falls. According to our outfitter, there is no way to overcome the sheer force of the water and recover the canoe. There is no word as to what happened to the people in the boat. Be careful of the choices you make. Some of them you will never recover from.

5. Never underestimate the importance of a map. We traveled over 50 miles through some of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen. The map is your lifeline.

4. Follow the map. The best maps in the world are of no use if you refuse to follow them. We were constantly checking our position and making mid-course adjustments based on what we read on the map. God’s Word is the unchanging map of life. Read it. Adjust your course according to it. Psalm 119 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

3. Take time to appreciate God’s handiwork. Pictures do not do justice to the sheer beauty we experienced. Glass-like lakes reflecting evergreen shorelines and painted skies. Wildlife laughing as loons called out to each other and otters frolicked on the banks. Around each bend was a new, picture-perfect scene that was constantly changing. Yes, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands…” (Psalm 19:1).

2. Jump at great opportunities. While we both want to return to the Boundary Waters, who knows if we will get the chance again. When God presents a great opportunity to you, go for it! Don’t let life pass you by. Seize the day!

1. The best is yet to come. At the base of Lower Basswood Falls, I said, “This is the most beautiful place on earth I’ve ever been.” Oh, but nothing compares to what God has in store for those who love Him. The best is yet to come! I pray some day you will meet me on that shore when we see Jesus face-to-face.