When my daughter, Taylor, was in the fourth grade, her class went on a field trip to Desoto Caverns. My husband and I went as chaperones, so our youngest daughter, Mallory, also got in on the fun.
We all have some great and some borderline traumatic memories from the experience. The not so pleasant memories stem from the pitch blackness of the cave when the lights were turned off for a few minutes…and from the huge maze set up outside that we all walked through.
The walls of the maze were about 7 or 8 feet tall. No one could see over the walls. Can you just imagine how intimidating that was, especially for my little six-year-old, Mallory?
As I read the chapters in this week’s reading, I thought of this field trip and especially that maze. I thought about how navigating life is so much like navigating a maze. In a maze there are many different directions we can take at almost any turn we make. Just like there are many possible paths our lives will take at each choice we face. In a maze there are long corridors and short corridors. Just like there are different lengths of time that we spend in different seasons of life. And also, just as there were many corridors in that maze that led nowhere but to a wall, there are many roadblocks in life as well.
I first thought of that maze and life’s roadblocks as I read about the people building the tower of Babel. God confounded their language placing a huge roadblock in their path. And they were no longer able to finish that project. As I meditated on this story further, I thought about life’s many roadblocks and how God would have us to react to those times when life suddenly changes.
When we face a roadblock, when God stops us in our tracks, what should we do?
First, acknowledge that we are not the masters of our own destinies.
We should learn from the people of Babel, and do the opposite. They were filled with pride, and a sense that they answered to no one and could do anything they decided to do.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:4
When we face a roadblock in life, the first thing we must do is to realize anew, and acknowledge to God, that we are not the masters of our own destinies.
God proved this fact to the people of Babel.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Genesis 11:7-8 (cf. verse 4 above)
Next, look up and seek God.
Once we’ve acknowledged to God that He is the One in control of this world and of our lives, we must then yield to Him that control. By seeking Him and His direction for our next steps.
That maze at Desoto Caverns was a scary place. At times, it seemed we would never make it out. We would choose one direction, only to discover that our way was blocked. Again.
It was disorienting.
Until we looked up.
The builders of the maze had also built a few lookout posts. Those who made it that far through the maze could climb up to the lookout and see down into the maze. Those of us in the maze could look up and ask for direction. All I can say is, “Thank goodness for those lookouts. Or I’d still be there today!”
When life suddenly changes, when we face a roadblock—
the only thing to do is to look up.
God is the only One who can order our steps and direct our path through the maze of life. Only He knows what direction our lives should go in next.
Abram learned this lesson when he tried to seek refuge in Egypt during a famine in Canaan.
God placed a roadblock before Abram in the form of Pharaoh’s displeasure with Abram’s deceit over Sarai. Pharaoh sent Abram and all that he had back out of Egypt. God stopped Abram from continuing on his own path.
When we face roadblocks, we must also do as Abram did next. Abram decided to return to Bethel “Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. (Genesis 13:1-4)
Are you facing a roadblock in your life, something that has turned your life around or even upside down? Maybe your roadblock is a forced retirement, or the loss of a family member, or a needed change in childcare, or care for an elderly parent, or job difficulties, or an illness, or a strained relationship. The list could go on forever.
What roadblocks, what changes are you facing? Seek Him. Get on your knees and pray. Read His Word and seek His wisdom and guidance for your situation.
And His peace and strength to act on His direction.
Finally, change direction and go again.
Roadblocks in life are God’s way of making us stop and take notice of just where we are. Maybe, like Abram, we have strayed from the path He has for us. Or maybe we have been on that particular leg of our journey for as long as God wanted us there. And now He wants to turn us in a new direction.
Regardless of the reason, our response should simply be repentance (if and where needed) and acceptance. Acceptance that God has the right to direct our path, that He knows the best path for us, and that He will turn us in the right direction for the next leg of our journey.
Roadblocks can be painful, scary, or at the least uncomfortable. But I have grown to also be able to be thankful for them. When I face a roadblock, I am again reminded that God is still working in my life. That He has not left me alone. He cares enough to direct my path.
And at least roadblocks give very definite direction! I don’t have to wonder if I heard God right.
What roadblock(s) are you facing right now?
Seek God. Change direction. And go again.
And remember…God cares! Or He wouldn’t be working in your life!
Drawing nigh to Him,