The Emergency Exit
by Cherie Hill
Rated "G" by the Author.
edited: Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2007
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In day to day life, we can find God in the most unexpected places, if we're looking for Him.
It never ceases to amaze me, that when you truly look for God in everything, you will find Him. On this particular day, when I least expected to find Him, He spoke to me, in a “Funhouse Maze.” I know, it’s a little unusual to find God in a Funhouse Maze, but God isn’t particular about the ways He teaches us about Him. God just meets us where we are. And for me, this lesson from God was found in one of the most unusual places.
I had taken my children to a pier, in the city, that had all kinds of wonderful shops, restaurants, and amusement park rides. In the midst of all that was available, the thing that attracted them most was, “The Funhouse Maze.” Now being “grown up,” and having experienced A LOT more in life than they have, I was certain that the Funhouse Maze was probably not all that “fun.” So, I asked them to trust me in seeking something else to enjoy and spend our money on. But, they couldn’t get the Maze out of their heads! After all, they told me, it had such attractive, fun lights, and balloons! Surely it was meant to be enjoyed by kids. So, against my better judgment, after much effort in trying to persuade them otherwise, I told them I’d let them go in the Maze. I would, of course, go with them.
Now, as I reflect on our initial entry of the Maze, I cannot help but relate it to our own lives. God was truly speaking to me through this experience. It was obvious that there are times in our own lives where something looks “inviting.” a particular direction in life looks “fun” or “exciting,” yet we never bother to ask God if it’s the direction we should go. Or, we do ask Him, and when we sense that He’s telling us the “fatherly,” “no,” we rebel and continue to go our own way. We simply believe that God is trying to steal all of our fun just as my children felt I would be stealing their fun if I didn’t let them go. I realized that just like I knew the Maze probably wasn’t that “fun,” God also knows what lies ahead in the paths of our lives and the consequences of the choices we make. God knows what is in the Maze, and He wants us to depend upon Him to lead and guide us so that we will choose the “best” way, His way.
As we entered into the maze, it was completely dark, not unlike this world. We were immediately faced with mirrors that created reflections that confused you as to the direction you were going. At times, it looked as though the path was leading you in a certain direction, only to find yourself walking into a mirror. God showed me, that in life, we will have reflections not only of ourselves, but of other others, and of life that will cause us to become confused and lost. All of a sudden, things aren’t what they seem, and we find ourselves overcome with distress. We find ourselves seeking direction in a Maze of life.
We continued through the maze, slowly and cautiously, because we realized we had no idea what was ahead. We came to a narrow passageway that you had to squeeze through to get to the other side. It reminded me of how there are times in life where we are struggling, squeezing through various trials and tribulations. Too often, we find ourselves fighting for the strength just to make it through the next day. And once you squeeze through, just as in this maze, there is a moment of relief; until you realize there is still so far to go and the end is nowhere in sight. You can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, or the end of the Maze, in this case.
Once we had squeezed through this narrow path, we came to a dark tunnel. It looked harmless, as there was a rod iron, “see through” bridge to cross, and you could clearly see that the tunnel was spinning around you with fluorescent colored stars. As we got half way through, the illusion took hold, and literally we were driven to our knees. We were dizzy, disoriented, and we were actually debilitated, in trying to walk forward because of how the illusion corrupted your sensory perception. I pulled my children through, and as we exited the tunnel, they were at that point, terrified.
I tried to reassure them that there was nothing to be afraid of, but it seemed that nothing could calm them. There was pure panic in their eyes. I said, “But honey, you were the ones who wanted to come in here…” And of course, I got the usual, “But we didn’t know!” I found myself, for a moment, in God’s shoes. How many times have we chosen to go down paths in life that He had clearly told us we shouldn’t go down, yet we say to Him, “It seemed like fun!,” “I just didn’t know!” Obviously, things aren’t always what they seem and they are not always what they appear to be.
We continued through the maze and wandered helplessly. It was clear that we were right back where we started, and then everyone really began to panic. During these moments, I was not so much concerned with how to get out; I was consumed with the thought that I didn’t want my children to be afraid! I was doing everything and anything I could to keep them from being so scared, but nothing worked. I was overwhelmed with guilt for even allowing them to go into the maze.
So what about God…how many times has He told us, “Do not be afraid!?” He has given us the most amazing Promises of hope and peace through His Word, and yet, we are still overcome with such great fear that we become debilitated and overwhelmed with hopelessness. I cannot describe how intense my desire was, to stop my children from feeling fear. And I know that God, as our Heavenly Father, feels no differently. He aches to see us in fear and I believe that there is nothing that He wants more than to bring us comfort and peace. He wants us to trust Him; that everything will be “okay,” He’s holding on to us; He is with us always. I reflected that from the moment we entered the maze, I had grasped onto both my boys’ hands, and there was no way that I was letting go. As we encountered things they found fearful, I felt their tiny hands clinch tighter to mine and I grabbed them even tighter. It brought us all comfort and some type of strength to just know that whatever happened, we were not going to let go of each other. God wants the same relationship with us. When life gets turbulent, He wants us to grasp onto Him, tighter. Even in the dark, as we are driven to our knees, we can feel and know that He is there. And in turn, He pulls us closer, draws us nearer, and gives us strength, comfort, and peace, in the most fearful of situations.
As I tried desperately, to quickly, find our way through the Maze; to relieve my children of the fear, my eight year old son said in a panic, “Mommy, there’s the Emergency Exit!” I thought to myself, I’m not sure if we’re really supposed to go that way, we’re really supposed to find our way through the maze. Yet, in my desperation to calm my children’s fears, I reached for the Emergency Exit and pushed through from the dark, into the light of day. And there was an overwhelming sense of relief because my children no longer felt fear.
God, our Heavenly Father, in all His love for us, saw us stumbling, confused, deceived, and overwhelmed with fear, in this fallen world. And so, in all His love, He gave us the “Emergency Exit,” He gave us Christ our Savior. When we choose to reach for the Emergency Exit in life, Jesus, we walk from the darkness into light. It is there that we will find peace, comfort, and great joy. We are no longer stumbling in the darkness, lost in the deception of a fallen world, but consumed with the light that the Word of God gives to us. God gave us Truth, He has shown us “The Way,” and He is with us along the journey. He is with us in the darkness just as much as He is with us in the light, He never lets go.
Upon standing for several minutes outside of the Maze, my six year old said it was a good thing that His big brother knew to take the Emergency Exit! I felt somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t point it out first, and that I even hesitated!! But once again I thought, for those who know Christ, those who know about the “Emergency Exit,” do they tell others? Do they lead others to the “Emergency Exit,” so that they too will have their fears calmed and be led into the Light? When we exited, at least ten people followed, how many people do we lead to Christ, by showing them the way in life? How many others are aimlessly wandering in the darkness; looking for a way out, and we could be the ones to lead them to a place of comfort and peace? We must be the ones to say, here’s the “Emergency Exit,” here is Christ, He is the way, the Truth and the Life!
My children will never forget the Funhouse Maze, I’m sure of that. And, neither will I, for different reasons. When I am overcome with fear in life, uncertain of where to go, confused about what lies ahead, I will immediately go to the “Emergency Exit,” that I have in Christ.