Monday, April 4, 2011

Navigating the Maze of Pain and Illness

“You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me”
 (Psalm 139:5).

In Elizabeth George’s book, Loving God with All Your Mind, she uses the word picture of our lives being a maze through which God leads us. I found a picture book with photos of some lovely garden mazes. As I looked at the pictures, I thought of the above verse.

Mazes can be beautiful and enjoyable to walk in. Sometimes there are benches where we can rest and enjoy the scenery. The tall hedges can provide a feeling of safety and security. We may walk with others and enjoy trying different paths to see where they lead. Mazes can also be frustrating however. We may go around in circles or down many dead ends which we thought were the way out. We can feel closed in and trapped rather than protected.

For most of us, our lives are probably a mixture of the two experiences. Right now there are many who are experiencing very difficult times. This part of the maze is not enjoyable and it’s easy to feel that God has abandoned us to wander alone. We may feel trapped by our circumstances with seemingly no end in sight to our struggles. Yet God’s hand is still leading us. Sometimes we reach dead ends where He says “no” or “not now”, but He will turn us around and lead us down a new path. He will provide the benches to rest when we can’t take anymore, and He will bring others alongside us at just the right times.

God created the pattern for our individual mazes of life and He will not let us wander aimlessly without Him. He is with us just as He was with Adam and Eve in the garden – a very real, though unseen, presence. We can be confident that He will help us navigate our paths until we reach the exit to our eternal home.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have a plan, purpose, and pattern for my life. Thank You that there is no place where Your Spirit does not surround me (Psalm 139), and You will show me the way I should go (Psalm 143:8). Amen.


  1. Amen, God's presence is always with us regardless of what we are going thru. He does have a plan in all situations. Everything ultimately works for our good:)

  2. Yes, we just have to have the faith to keep believing that when we "get lost" :).

  3. Thank you, Bronlynn, for the encouragement. I'm at a place in my life that I don't know how to handle anymore. I don't want to give up, but I just can't find any joy in life. I try and read scriptures, but they are meaningless right now..just words on a page. Will that change? I don't know. I will keep on reading and waiting for God to help.

  4. Linda, I have been in that place as well and it is very difficult. I do know that God will bless and reward those who persevere, even if that doesn't come until this life's journey is over - although I am praying that you will see some of that in this life. "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant a willing spirit to sustain me" Psalm 51:12. Psalm 107:13-16 is a tremendous help to me in my struggle with the "chains" of depression and oppression as well. We're in the maze but thankfully God is standing outside of it, above it, and inside, and can see what's waiting for us at the end - "Blessed are those who persevere under trial, because when they have stood the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him " James 1;12).