Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Labyrinth

Garage sale-ing. 

That’s what we were doing.

We’d already been to a few. This garage sale just happened to be at a church. I parked near the back of the lot and walked backwards reading the sign as we headed toward the entrance.


My wife and grandkids started gawking at all the tables filled with games and clothes and every little thing a person could ever want…but nothing they’d ever really need.

What was needed was near. I could feel it. Just not in there. Not on those tables.  

It was outside…out back.  

I made my way back outside, away from the crowd, away from the noise, to the back of the parking lot.

To the place where weeds and wild flowers grew together partially blocking the painted wood sign hanging on a white picket fence.

I wasn’t too sure what a Labyrinth was, exactly. But by definition it’s, a web, maze, tangle, jumble, muddle...that’s the last thing I needed. My life was already a tangled, jumbled, muddled mess.

But, what’s one more tangled web, right?

One of the signs read:


I didn’t notice the typo until I got home and looked at the photo. But that’s exactly what it said: 


Maybe the mistake wasn’t a mistake at all, maybe it was an invitation to come as you are—mistakes and all—away from the gawking crowds. Away from the meandering  search for meaningless stuff…and open up the the heart.

Memorial Prayer Garden, another sign read.

Yes—that’s what I need—a place to quiet my mind and pray.
I let out a sigh and stepped through the trellised entry.

I followed the path as it circled left and then switched back. I stopped and looked toward the center. The center had a couple of benches and some ceramic and concrete plaques with words of wisdom.

The questions that woke me at night, now invaded my day.

 I need wisdom, Lord.

I started to step over the four inch concrete blocks that marked the path. I wanted to skip the curves, ignore the switchbacks and head straight to the finish line. Straight to the center, to the place of rest, I almost did. I wanted to jump to the end without enduring the middle.

Sometimes the straight and narrow sure feels mighty curvy

I stayed on the path.

Some folks walked out of the church loaded down with treasures. They glanced toward me. I looked away.

I felt the same way—loaded down—just not with treasure. And I felt a little embarrassed, too. I don’t know why. Maybe I thought they could see the burden I carried.

I looked toward the bench in the center.  I should skip this walk and just go pray.

I kept my head down, stayed the course and put one foot in front of the other. Curving right, switching back and curving left. At times, even though I stayed on the path I actually got further from the center.  

Lord, I’ve tried to follow You…but still, it looks like I’m going the wrong direction.

The sun was hot.

I was thirsty.

This is dumb, I should quit. Lord, I can’t do this without Your help.

And then there was mud.

No way around it. Turn back, simply step off the path, or,  do the hard thing and walk straight through.

My shoes got muddy.

Another curve right, then left and back again, near the mud, only this time the path was over grown with weeds, up to my waist.

The concrete blocks that marked the way were buried in weeds. I couldn’t see the path.

Now’s the time to quit, don’t be stupid there might be a snake lying in the weeds. Don’t take a chance. Don’t get bit. Give it up, skip this part— take a short cut. I’m up against it…I’m not gonna make it without You.

 I’m not sure if I was thinking of the weeds on the path or in my life.

I clenched my jaw took a step and waded through.

A few more steps and I was out the other side, the path curved to the right and then turned straight into the center.

I sat down on the bench.


I fully intended to have a talk with God about this heavy load. Only, when I stopped long enough to take it off…for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out where it had gone.

Some folks crossed the parking lot bearing empty treasures. They glanced toward me. I smiled and waved. 


Does your life ever feel like a jumbled, tangled web, a maze…a labyrinth?  You’re not alone. Life twists this way and that, through the mud and weeds and it feels like we’re never gonna make it.

 It’s tempting to jump the path. Take a short cut. Skip the twists and turns and dangers and cut straight to the center.

But don’t you do it.

Buying a trophy at a garage sale for a dime means nothing. Winning it with the best of blood sweat and tears is priceless.

God allows life to be a maze, so one day you’ll look back and be amazed.

Let’s pray.
Lord, sometimes this life feels so out of control, like a tangled jumbled mess. But we know You have good plans for our lives. You may allow our life to feel like a maze so one day we’ll look back and be amazed. Help us to remember that.

Thanks for stopping by my friend,
Please drop me a note and let me know how you’re doing.

Doug Spurling

To help you make it through your Labyrinth:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Your ears will hear sweet words behind you: “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go” whenever you must decide whether to turn to the right or the left. (Isaiah 30:21)

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)

This is what the LORD says: "Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall… (Hebrews 4:9-11)

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. (Luke 9:23)

Prayer Requests