The Labyrinth of Life (365 Days of Daring Faith — DAY 316)
James 5:11 (NLT)
We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. For instance, you know about Job, a man of great endurance. You can see how the Lord was kind to him at the end, for the Lord is full of tenderness and mercy.
Life is a vast labyrinth of twists and turns, starts and stops, ups and down, storms and clear passages. All of us no matter who we are or what we have are called to pass through this way. At every turn is the opportunity to make a choice. Some of the choices we make will be good while others inevitably will be bad. Good choices will end in good results while bad choices will end in certain pain or suffering.
Job was a man of great faith who endure through a series of intense pain and suffering. He could have made the decision to “curse God and die” as his wife suggested he do. He could have easily given up believing in God and lived out the rest of his life in obscurity and brokenness. He could have sat right in the middle of the heartbreak and not going back or moved forward. But he made the choice to continue to trust, to believe, and to endure to the end.
Christ is a perfect example of what it means to be patient, to trust, to obey, and to persevere. Jesus was between a rock and a hard place in the Garden of Gethsemane. He could have easily walked away and not gone through the pain and suffering of the cross. But he chose to make the right decision, the decision that would do the most good, the choice to give us new life by laying down his. The choices Christ made to endure in the face of great pain reflect how God wants us to make choices today.
God is full of tenderness and mercy as James tells us. He is there to guide us every step of the way but he will not make decisions for us. That is why he gave us free will so that we can have the privilege and responsibility to make choices on our own. So that we can choose to reflect his goodness and love. So that we can choose to trust even when the road behind us is covered in darkness and the path ahead of us looks bleak and grim.
How do we reflect Christ’s will and follow God’s guidelines in the midst of intense pain, scrutiny, heartbreak, or grief? We do this by asking and answering the right questions with God in the center. We refer to God’s agenda and ask ourselves whether what we are doing or saying is in line with what God wants us to do and say. The labyrinth of life is never easy but if we persevere through problems and endure to the end, we can be sure we are making the right choices.
“Do not be lazy. Run each day’s race with all your might, so that at the end you will receive the victory wreath from God. Keep on running even when you have had a fall. The victory wreath is won by him who does not stay down, but always gets up again, grasps the banner of faith and keeps on running in the assurance that Jesus is Victor.”
— Basilea Schlink