Drive Your Stakes Deep
We set up our tent on a bluff overlooking a pristine Maine lake. My hiking partner, Mac, and I were on a two-week hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT).
We set up camp on an August evening with clear skies and a soft cool breeze. Due to traveling light, we had a small tent.
Mac carefully laid out the tent and began staking it. My thought, with the nice weather, was to not worry about staking every rope and loop. We’d be fine.
But Mac had a different mindset. An older experienced AT hiker, he insisted that we set up the tent strong and well-staked. This was not an easy task in the rocky ground, but we persevered using rocks to hammer in the tent pegs. At one rope, Mac tied onto a small bush. “If we have a storm, the bush gives just enough to help keep the tent in place. When we finished, there were ten ropes anchored and taut.
I looked at the clear sunset descending on the Maine woods. “Looks like a good night to camp out.”
“Always be prepared,” Mac said. “At this elevation, a storm can blow in at any time.”
As dusk fell, we finished our meal and got into the tent for a pleasant night’s sleep.
It was the strong wind that first woke me. It whipped our tent as the rain came pouring down, seemingly sideways. I hoped that we’d securely anchored our tent.
In spite of this nighttime storm, our tent held, and we were warm, dry, and safe.
“I’m sure glad you drove those stakes deep into the ground,” I said. “It was worth the extra effort.”
Mac repeated. “Always be prepared. Up here you always go to bed expecting a storm to strike during the night. Drive your stakes deep.”
I’ve often thought about his statement. Drive your stakes deep. It’s a lesson for each of us. In life, it’s important that our stakes be driven deep into solid ground. There’s a reason we didn’t set up camp on the sandy beach bordering the lake. It would’ve been easier, but the result would not have been happy.
A few parting shots . . .
We anchored our stakes ahead of the storm. I’ve had experience trying to set up a tent in the midst of a storm. Everything—both inside and out—gets soaked. In life, storms will come. As much as possible, we want to be prepared beforehand.
Secondly, we drove our stakes deep into the solid ground. This served as an anchor that even as the storm buffeted our tent, the staked ropes stayed anchored.
I think of the chorus of one of my favorite songs:
“On Christ the solid rock I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.”
After a lifetime of standing on the rock called Jesus, I can attest that He is solid ground. Drive your stakes deep into his love.
In memory of Macon “Mac” Rathburn and his wife Mabelle. They were special lifetime friends whom I still cherish.