Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Cattle Pen Maze

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8 (NLT)

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we found ourselves traipsing the Fort Worth Stockyards. Known for its brick walkways and wooden corrals, what was once host to Texas’ livestock industry, was now a piece of western heritage, lit up with Christmas lights and garlands of red and green. Throngs lined the sidewalks to catch a glimpse of the twice-daily cattle drive, while others bustled in and out of shops and restaurants.

We had barely passed the petting zoo and the carriage rides when our little boy stopped at the sight of a life-sized maze. In bright letters, it boasted a 5,400 sq. ft. labyrinth of wooden passageways constructed to resemble an actual cattle pen. Unable to look away at the immensity of it, he quickly got our permission and stood in line.

“See if you can find the letters M - A - Z - E before you exit,” the attendant bellowed above the noise of the busy street as she handed him a ticket. Accepting the challenge, he and his older sister took off.

Clutching my camera, I followed my husband as we climbed a wooden staircase that promised a scenic overlook. The landing was crowded but I inched my way to the edge of the stiff railing. I gasped at the view below. It was a complete unhindered layout of the maze. I looked for my kids to see if they had made any headway. They hadn’t. But from atop the overlook, the maze was crystal clear. I felt like a child in a restaurant who had been handed a kids’ menu with a maze to complete. With an imaginary crayon, I checked off all four letters and exited the jumbled mess in record time.

I snapped from my pretense when I heard what sounded like the names of my little ones. My husband had joined the chorus of parents flocking the overlook, all issuing well-meaning orders to their youngsters.  “Turn left!” “Turn right!” “Enter here.” “Not there.” On and on the cries overlapped. Some listened, others didn’t. Ours yelled back at us that they wanted to solve the puzzle at their own pace. So we watched patiently as they zipped in and out the wooden trails and finally made their way out.

“It was harder than I thought, mom!” my son exclaimed.

“Come with me.” I grabbed his hand and led him until he was 30 feet taller.

“Wow!” he exhaled, as he gaped at what looked like an aerial photograph. The maze was now no different from ones he’d completed in a puzzle book.

We stood there for a few minutes drinking in the view.

I thought to myself that God must have a picture quite similar to this. His perspective is vast and perfect, while mine is inaccurate and limited. He is not stumped by dead ends, blind alleys, or patterns that repeat. He is never frustrated, lost or confused. His ways are higher, and His conclusions are right. He sees the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10) and nothing is hidden from His sight. And He wants to lead me.

Lord I trust your wisdom, I whispered under my breath. You know best, and it is my privilege to obey you.  

Copyright © 2019 Jane Samuel, used with permission.

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