by Will Peycke
Have you ever tried to navigate a corn maze? It can be confusing, disorienting. You aren’t sure where you are or how to get to where you want to be. The path you thought would take you in the right direction ends up being a dead-end—or even worse, splitting into multiple paths going in different directions. Or the path starts to look strangely familiar, and you begin to wonder if you are walking in circles. And the map they give you at the start is confusing and hard to follow.
Last Sunday, I got to see a corn maze from a different perspective: the air. On the ground, navigating a corn maze can be confusing and disorienting. But from an airplane at 1,200 feet, it looks quite simple! How much easier would it be to navigate the corn maze if you had someone overhead to give you guidance?
When you start heading down the wrong path: “No, that’s the wrong direction—you need to turn around.”
When you have to make a choice and don’t know which way to go: “Keep going straight ahead—all those side paths are dead-ends.”
When you feel like you are going in circles and are ready to give up: “You are almost to the goal! Just a few more steps, and you’ll be there.”
Sometimes life feels like a corn maze. It can be confusing, disorienting, and hard to tell where you are or how to get to where you want to be. Sometimes the path that looked like the way forward turns out to be a setback. Sometimes you feel like you are going in circles, expending energy but not getting anywhere.
But if you could see your life from 1,200 feet, I’m convinced it would look quite different. It would make more sense. The twists and turns would come together into a picture, a story. The situations that are so confusing and perplexing from our earthly perspective would look much clearer from the air.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had someone overhead to give us guidance?
We may not have someone giving us turn-by-turn instructions, but there is someone who sees “the big picture” and offers us the guidance we so desperately need. Look at what God says to his people through the prophet Isaiah:
6 “Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:6-11, ESV)
There are two things I love about this passage. First, God’s ways are higher than mine. Like my view of the corn maze from the airplane, God’s eternal perspective is immeasurably higher than my limited viewpoint. God’s ways are also “higher” than mine morally: God’s ways are infinitely wiser and better than my tainted, confused, and often-rebellious ways and thoughts (notice verse 7). The way I naturally react to a person or situation, the path that looks the most attractive to me, is so often not the right way. God’s ways are higher, wiser, and better than mine, every time.
The second thing I love about this passage is that God’s ways can become mine. God invites me to seek him and call on him (verse 6), to forsake my own ways and thoughts (verse 7), and to return instead to him. When I do, I receive clear, reliable guidance (unlike the corn maze map!), and I can be confident that God’s purpose will be accomplished in my life as I follow his life-giving words (verse 11).
Life may still feel like being lost in a corn maze at times. But since God’s ways are higher than mine—and since he invites me to follow his ways instead of my own—I don’t have to stay lost and confused. I can trust my Good Shepherd to guide me each step of the way.