It was a madhouse to say the least. People screaming, running, pushing, yelling and stressed.... all to collect some sort of letters and make it to the end with the best time. That's it? In this game there is no: pacing yourself, keeping your cool, pit stops, or helping a brother out. Nope... it's eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth... dog eat dog. Strangers, friends and family are sneaking around you hoping to find the right paths before you do. Any way you look at it, the reality is it quickly becomes a game of selfishness, pride and defeat. It's almost like it was designed that way.....
God, on the other hand, designed a world pleasant and stunning. There was no point in rushing in the garden of Eden... no time limit, no worries, no needs, and no desperation. There was no social ladder to climb and no desire to become well known among God's creation. Peace, serenity, unfailing love, harmony, and flawless beauty where all that surrounded them. Just picture this for a minute. Wow, what I wouldn't give to be THERE sometimes.. ok, all the time. Knowing it's in our eternal future is exciting, but what about now? What about the fast paced, caffeine driven, over-time, over-worked, overwhelmed society we live in?
I don't know about you... but sometimes I feel the pressure of the maze. Since the fall of man, no doubt the enemy has had a fine time keeping us busy with "life" in a puzzle that doesn't make any sense. EVEN Christians with good intentions who desire God's will for their life might find themselves stuck in one of these desperate to keep up with the rest of the world unintentionally forgetting what real quality LIFE is.
I find that when I'm in New Zealand, Cambodia, Thailand, or somewhere in Africa "unplugged" from the system...I am much more at peace with the Lord and myself. Don't get me wrong... it's not necessarily easier to be a Christ follower in another land (per say), but it IS so much easier to FOCUS on intimacy with God when I slow down, cut out most forms of modern technology, and just BE a daughter of the King. It's in this place I become a child again who knows and trusts and loves her papa... regardless of the circumstances. It's in THIS place that i feel more like a human being rather than a human doing.
The most intriguing thing about the maze that day was watching the interaction with my cousin, his wife, their 4 year old, and 2 year old twins. I loved hearing them laugh as they found it more and more difficult keeping up with all three. You see, before too long those little ones realized there was a gap under the walls big enough for them to crawl under which gave them a pretty big advantage to the rest of the adults who were about to go insane if they reached another dead end. Also, because they were children... they didn't seem to care about the letters we were all collecting or about being first. Instead they were having a blast, not to mention reminding others to slow down and enjoy the journey a little bit more.
Another interesting perspective... literally... is when we found one of the stair cases that led us up to a platform where we could see the whole maze. These were God-sends. The crazy thing was you couldn't find them if you were looking for them, but you would always stumble upon them at your most desperate point. From this place you could see all of the human rats running around looking quite ridiculous. For the first few minutes you can't help but think how dumb they all look until you realize you were doing the exact same thing. Doesn't take long for God to put you in your place :) From up there you begin to get it. Ok... so I'm in this journey and one day i'll be out of it... the trick is to be in it but not of it right? So... be a kid, keep perspective, enjoy the journey and show others how to be kids of the King while you're at it!
The cool thing is that we have the "garden" at our fingertips. It is possible for us to live in the kingdom of heaven while on earth... but we have to know how to be His kids first. How do we do that? By believing what He says about Himself and us in His word... instead of believing the tainted version the world expresses through its brokenness. Man, God sure does love us. God is the most questioned, sought after, rejected, treasured, misunderstood, creative, worshipped, powerful, gentle, frightening, beautiful, mysterious, glorified, known divine creator in the universe and beyond. And He loves you. He desires to restore us and unite us with Him. Can you believe it? When we can stop, sit, and listen to His whisper... we'll begin to have this love encounter that leads us to the one true God. Then... we can't help but walk in humility, faithfulness, love, authenticity, grace, forgiveness, gratitude, and awe because of His presence. And the world will see you... somehow living this out... in the fallen world they are wrapped up in. And almost speechless because of His glory and love, we lift up one arm and point to Jesus.
B90: (Romans 13- 1 Corinthians 13:14) "May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." Rom. 15:5-7
Take a second to jot down what the church family looks like from the inside-out. Now take a second to think about what it might look like from the outside-in. Or vice versa. Maybe you've had conversations with people about it or perhaps you only know one side of the story. Now go ahead and read verses 1-4 of that chapter. Is it possible we've separated ourselves so much from the world that we've created our own "christian" maze only for people who are willing to follow the rules? Or have we found that balance of truly living in the world but not of it... in harmony with one another with the welcoming spirit of Christ?
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Rom. 15:13
I pray for us today as a body. That we would let down our walls of preference and be unified. That we would be so consumed with His presence that the busyness of the world drifts away and we are in constant awe of who He is and how much He loves us and the world. I pray we all get a taste of the kingdom here on earth and live in a constant hunger for more. That people come to know the God of this universe by how we love, serve and live as authentic and transparent followers of Christ. I pray we all see the importance Paul saw in being good stewards of all you've given us Lord.... ourselves, the earth, and all that is in it! Let us bless your spirit with our praise, adoration, worship, positive thinking, life bringing attitudes, service and love today. All glory to you!!! Amen.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God." 1 Cor. 10:31