In the newspaper recently there was an article about a maze cut out of a
field of maize. Apparently mazes made of maize have become quite popular
since they grow very quickly. By contrast the world famous Hampton Court
Palace Maze was planted in 1690. Covering over a third of an acre its
yew hedges are 7' high and 3' wide.
Going round a properly built maze can be a quite challenging and
frustrating experience. Firstly you cannot see where you are going, you
simply have a vague idea of the place you are aiming for. The next
problem is that you keep going down paths that seem all right at the
time but in fact turn out to be dead ends.
Don’t you feel that life sometimes seems like a maze? There are all
sorts of opportunities presented to us and so many different paths we
can take and yet we have only a vague idea of where we are trying to get
to. You might be starting out on a career but are unsure of what you
really want to do. You have difficulty getting a job and then it doesn’t
work out and you have to start all over. Or you could be at the stage
where you have a young family. How should you bring up the children?
There are so many mistakes that are easy to make and experience comes
slowly. And much later in life there are further challenges brought
about by increasing age. Do you maintain your independence or do you let
others increasingly care for you?
In all areas of life there are new paths to be taken but
do we have the wisdom to choose the right one?
Sometimes the problems of the maze of life are so difficult that we
feel frustrated and trapped by our circumstances with no obvious way out
ahead and we lose our way. And the maze of life affects us not just at
the physical level but also at the deeper spiritual level of thoughts
and feelings. We are constantly bombard with all kinds of ideas of what
life is really about and how it should be lived but which pattern of
living will lead us in the right direction?
To sort out the maze of life we need two things. Firstly a clear idea
of where we are trying to get to and secondly a map of how to get there.
Jesus had a lot to say on this subject. For example in John’s gospel we
“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. John
The clear message here is that life is amazing with many
opportunities and should be lived to the full. Elsewhere in Matthew’s
gospel we can also read:
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What
shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ But seek first the kingdom of
God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Jesus is telling us that whatever is happening around us, whatever
the problems of life that we face, our aim should be to “seek first the
kingdom of God”. We can build this “kingdom of God” within us as we put
others first and ourselves second. This heaven is not a place to be
reached but a spiritual state to be achieved through loving others and
serving their needs.
We need a clear target to reach but we also need rules of life to
guide and direct us and help us make the right decisions in life. And
these rules are best embodied in the Ten Commandments. But Jesus showed
that these Ten could be distilled down to Two Great Commandments:
“Love God and love your neighbour as yourself”
Fundamentally it is love that should guide us in life. We need to
“seek first the kingdom of God” by putting our love for God and our
neighbour into action. However complex and difficult the maze of life
becomes we need to put our trust in this approach to living as the best
way to fulfil the amazing life we have been offered and to cope with all
the adversities we daily face.
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It should be recognized that Divine providence is overall, that
is, it is present within the smallest details of all, and that people in
the stream of providence are being carried along constantly towards
happier things, whatever appearance the means may present. Those in the
stream of providence are people who trust in the Divine and ascribe
everything to Him.
I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any
advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out
for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about. Henry Ford