Life: The A-maize-ing Journey
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It was a particularly beautiful day in Las Cruces, New Mexico, when my Aunt Susan, Uncle Rich, and I first began our trek through the “Voyage of Discovery” corn maze, an activity that I had never done before, but being the curious and adventurous person that I am, gladly said yes to on a recent family visit.
Meant to depict the seagoing expedition of Christopher Columbus to the “New World,” the labyrinth was a complex picture of three interlocking ships. With map neatly tucked away, the three of us meandered through the tall corn field feeling confident that we could find our way around the elaborate design without having to consult the map.
However, it didn’t take long for us to realize that we were lost in the head-tall stalks and it was starting to get hot. Trying to align ourselves with the map often proved useless, since none of us had a good sense of direction and none of us were really paying attention to our surroundings. We ended up going around in circles several times.
My good-natured aunt, being a creative person and a writer like myself, philosophized lightheartedly about the course that we were on, proposing that there were important lessons to learn from our mishaps. For the next hour or so, she and I bantered back and forth, further clarifying the analogy between our current maze and life in general, with my uncle throwing in his thoughts here and there.
It was fun and silly and we did finally stumble upon the exit to the maze - only to realize that we had spent most of the time wandering around the same section of corn rows over and over again! We never did make it through the really complicated parts of the puzzle.
Sounds corny (pun intended), but there really are some takeaway points from this misadventure that parallel nicely to our Christian walk. I share these with you now in the hopes that you will glean some truth:
First, you cannot begin your journey if you do not know where you should start, and you can’t complete your journey if you don’t know where the finish line is. You have got to know where you are and where you are going. How do you know this? With a corn maze, you simply note the “start” and the “finish” on the map and use that as your guide. It’s the same in your Christian walk. Only the start and finish are one and the same: Christ Jesus. Did you know that we begin and end our journey with Jesus? It’s true. The Bible says that He is the “author and finisher of our faith” (), “the Beginning and the End” ( :13). We must get this right, because if we think life begins and ends with us, we will never find our way around or our way out.
Second, you need to start your journey by studying the map. It’s the key to successfully getting through that maze called life. The key to the Christian walk is the Bible, so pull out the Word of God and meditate on it before you take your first step of the day. Don’t just carry it around with you unopened like my family and I did when we folded that “Voyage to Discovery” map and tucked it into a back pocket. You have to unfold the truth, page by page, and carefully look at it. Then you will keep to the correct path.
Third, let the Holy Spirit lead. Making sense of God’s way can be tricky when we lack spiritual understanding. We need the Holy Spirit to make sense of the blueprints God gave in His Word. And we need to be careful to listen only to His voice and no other noises when making a critical turn on our route. On my corn maze outing, there was no single voice leading the way. When we would come to a fork in the road or discover another path, the strongest and loudest opinion generally led the way. It seemed to work for a while as the most egalitarian method of decision, but our differing opinions just got us into dead ends and forced us to backtrack. Soon we were disoriented and turned around. The Christian life should not be punctuated with confusion, but rather clarity. When we walk by faith, we must listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice alone, instead of being swayed by any other right-sounding thought, notion, or opinion. When the Holy Spirit is our guide, we will be taken along the pathway of peace.
Fourth, be prepared to change directions. Along life’s journey, you are going to have to change your course, so stay on your toes. In the corn field, if we had decided to simply go straight, we would have never gotten out of that maze. We had to be flexible enough to move out of what we knew into a new area in order to get to the end. In the same way, God doesn’t want us to become complacent and idle as we tread our field. He wants us growing, and often that means taking us on another road. He might test us by taking us on a sharp turn just to see if we trust Him. He wants us to rely not on sight and not on our own abilities but on Him alone.
Last, it’s hard to understand where you are going when you are in the thick of things, when you are concentrating on what is directly in front of you. But when you are able to rise above and see the situation from a different vantage point, you will easily see the exact track you have been taking all along. Once my aunt and uncle and I exited the corn field, we were able to get a wider view of the maze. Then we could more easily see where the road turned and just how far we had actually traveled. The Bible says that we should set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. We can get bogged down in our worries and cares and fail to see the beautiful design God is weaving into our lives. But when we look to God and choose to remember that we are seated in heavenly places, He changes our perspective and allows us to see His glory etched into our lives.
You never know just what beauty God is carving into your life as you seek to follow Him. May you commit each step of your walk, each path in your journey, each twist and turn of your life to Him.
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