Saturday, July 11, 2015


Mazes always amaze me. They beckon me to a Starting point and assure me there is a Finish, an exit, an eventual victorious completion. 

Nevertheless they do everything possible to block me and make me turn aside, frustrate me, and even go backward. The destination is really not so far away. If I stand on tiptoe I can see it. Between here and there lies the problem. 

If I go straight forward I bump into a wall. I have to decide whether to go right or left. Whichever direction I choose, I hit another wall. I seem to make one detour after another and I feel as if I'm not making any progress. I keep hitting dead ends.

Not far from where we formerly lived, a famous interactive maze is made from a cornfield in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. It is one of the longest running corn mazes in the U.S. and the world! It is commonly called the “Amazing Maize Maze” or the Lancaster Corn Maze. “Maize” is what the Indians called corn. 
At this five acre location the walkway is 2 ½ miles between the tall cornstalks—and you can't see over them. Instruction and a game board is provided at the entrance and clues and Kernels of Knowledge help to guide you.

 You can choose your level of difficulty in advance. Easy can be finished in about 20 minutes. You can follow the yellow trails that will take you along the outside edge; Intermediate provides more adventure and excitement allowing you to finish in about 45 minutes; Difficult is the most challenging and can take 2 or more hours. Red signs of encouragement are posted along the way. Maze Masters are available if you become desperate or are lost, get claustrophobic, or feel a panic attack coming on. At the end you climb a platform, wave a flag, shouting “Victory!”

A maze is what life feels like for many of us even when we sincerely seek the will of God and are trying to follow and obey what we believe is His guidance. We pray, “Lead me in the paths of righteousness for Your Name's sake,” as the Psalmist prayed. “Make me to know Thy ways, O Lord, Teach me Thy paths, Lead me in Thy truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:4,5). But we still keep hitting brick walls and despair because we are not, in our estimation, making any progress. We just turn around and go another way. That turns out to be blocked too. 

We feel confused and forsaken. We may even feel like the people of Israel wandering around in the desert and the wilderness for forty years before they got to the Promised Land.

How we long for a direct, straight path to victory! That would be too easy. The Lord knows we need the struggle just as the emerging butterfly needs to exert effort as it attempts to make its way out of the chrysalis. Without the initial struggle it would not be strong enough to take flight. We need to persevere, learn to trust God no matter how it looks. 

God has His eyes on us; He's keeping track of us. “Thou art intimately acquainted with all my ways” (Psalm 139:3). That is the mystery of God's leading. Like in the cornfield maze there are red clues of encouragement and Kernels of Knowledge through the Scriptures, by the Holy Spirit, and from fellow pilgrims who are also making their way through the maze of life. We may complain that we didn't get to choose our level of difficulty—it is all too difficult.

Rest assured that you won't get lost if you trust God and keep moving. “The Lord knows the way of the righteous” (Psalm 1:6). He has a plan for your life that He will not abandon. God will send along “Maze Masters,” those who have gone through life's maze before, to cheer you on. 

Of course you'd like to have a map. You'd like to see the whole maze journey from above. You could get to the end faster that way and with less effort. A GPS would be better yet. You could just punch in the destination and follow it with ease. God know our ability, our stamina, our weaknesses, and limitations and takes in consideration what level He guides us to take. “He Himself knows our frame.” “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

Never fear! Keep going forward. God's leading may be an “aMAZing mystery to you and me at any given moment of our lives, but God has a perfect scenario He is working out for my life and yours. At the completion you shout "VICTORY!"

1 comment:

Jennifer Botkin Phillips said...

I loved this as I can relate and I want that clear path before me! Thank you for this great column on walking through the maze of life. I'm encouraged!