With the constant influx of people coming from all over the U.S., the city of Phoenix and the surrounding areas have grown rapidly. As the urban sprawl has spread further and further into the land that was once filled with farms, dairies and orchards, a way of life that has been around for generations is rapidly disappearing. For those of us who remember seeing all the cotton and cornfields, citrus groves and dairy farms, this is hardly the place we remember from years past. This is to be expected, I suppose, however it is still somewhat sad. There is a large family farm though, not too far from where I live, that has managed to remain, and even thrive, throughout all the change.
The family who owns and runs the farm looked ahead, and saw what was coming. They knew they couldn’t stop the growth and the progress from encroaching on their lives and livelihood, so instead they embraced it. While it is still a large working farm, the focus is on “agri-tourism” and it is now considered to be an “entertainment farm”. Throughout the seasons, this farm does things to bring people in and give them the opportunity to experience the land. Among the things they offer are dining, tours, various citrus and holiday festivals, a pumpkin and chili party, a petting zoo, and they even hold weddings and receptions. There is one event though, that they do every year that gains national media attention – the celebrity corn maze.
As the name suggests, the celebrity corn maze is a 10-acre cornfield that is carved into the image of a celebrity. Past celebrities include Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, Luis Gonzales of the AZ Diamondbacks (at that time), Larry King, Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey. It is a wonder to be seen - from the air. From the ground it looks like, well, like a cornfield. Thousands of people traipse through the maze every year. It can be both fun and scary at the same time. It’s easy to get lost within the maze. Fortunately, they hand out maps of the maze as you enter, to help you find your way. To my knowledge, no one has been permanently lost! J
Often times our lives are like a maze. You start in one direction that you think is the correct way to go, only to find yourself at a dead end. There can be multiple turns to choose from, but only one of those turns is the right one. Sometimes you can choose to follow someone who looks like they know where they’re going, like they’re experts at this, but in the end you both get lost. Sometimes you are the leader and when you find you’ve gone the wrong way, you have to turn around and look at those you’ve led astray. Sometimes you are all alone and you get lost and you don’t know which way to turn. However you end up lost, it can be frightening and lonely. It can even seem hopeless. But it’s not.
Just like there is a map for the celebrity maze of corn, there is a map for the maze of our lives – the Bible. Within the pages of the Bible we find wisdom, instruction, comfort, and hope for the way we live our lives. We are introduced to people who are flawed and damaged, much like we are. We also see that many of these people rise above their circumstances in life to become mighty men and women who have an impact on those around them and even entire nations. The Bible shows us how to live and how to love. It is a source of strength when we are weak, and a beacon of light when we are surrounded by darkness. The Bible is God’s word to us. It holds His promises, His guidance, His comfort and His love. The Bible is alive; it breathes life into us and speaks to us today the same way that it did 200 years ago, and even nearly 2000 years ago. It is real and it is relevant.
When we are lost, overwhelmed and confused in the maze of our lives, we don’t have to stay that way. It’s natural to feel fear during those times, but it’s not natural to stay in fear. Our faith in God and His perfect love casts out fear. All we have to do is look at and follow the map. It’s there for us, but we have to choose to use it. And when we do, we see that by not giving up, we can find our way with confidence and peace, and maybe even with a little fun along the way.
“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.” ~ Psalm 25:4-7
Tracy, thank you for this great analogy pointing to the Word of God as our map! I really like your writing style. It's clear and straightforward without losing its evocative edge. Your two opening paragraphs drew me right in, but as the article progressed, they seemed to lead away from your point. You might consider lifting them out (to use, of course, in a different piece), then open with your impressions of the farm's famous maze. I enjoyed the tone of your last paragraph, with the promise of "fun" at the end. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful lesson!