“Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will gather you and your children from east and west. I will say to the north and south, ‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel from the distant corners of the earth. Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.’” Bring out the people who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. Isaiah 43:5-8 (NLT)
Erin stood in the middle of the corn maze, totally confused. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to go in alone. But she had begged and her parents had relented. She tried to remember some of the turns from last year when she and Dad had done the maze together. But, of course, it was completely different this year.
Erin had been so excited when she learned that Dad was coming with them to the pumpkin farm. She thought that this was another thing in her life that would be different this year. The summer had been hard as she watched Dad pack some things and drive away. Not seeing him cheering from the stands at her soccer games or waiting at the bottom of the slide for her at the neighborhood pool had made her feel sad. Starting a new school year without his traditional “Happy School Year” hug had seemed all wrong.
But today was different. It was almost like it used to be. Even though her mom and dad didn’t talk very much to each other, Erin and her little brother had made up for the quietness with their constant chatter. And Dad had seemed to really want to hear what they had to say.
Now she stood in the middle of a corn maze, confused and a little scared. Dad had offered to come with her but she had told him she thought she was big enough to go by herself this year. “I guess that was a mistake,” Erin thought to herself. “I wish someone would come and show me the way out.”
Erin took the right turn in front of her and then another right. After a few more minutes, she ended up in a clearing – exactly where she was before she started walking. The sun was starting to go down and Erin was getting really scared. She heard the rustling of leaves behind her and her guard went up. What if someone else was coming into the maze? What if they weren’t very nice? How would she get out?
Erin’s heart beat faster as the sound grew nearer. As she turned to run the other way, she heard Dad calling her name. Just as she was getting ready to bolt, he rounded the corner. Erin was so glad to see him she jumped into his arms. He hugged her and held her tight. Erin thought that maybe he had been a little confused and scared, too. Dad took her hand and they negotiated the twists and turns together.
“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:3-4 (NLT)
Erin’s mom and little brother were waiting at the exit. They were all smiles as the two emerged together. The trip home was filled with conversation about Erin getting lost in the maze and Dad coming to rescue her. Mom and Dad were talking like old times and once Erin even saw Dad reach for Mom’s hand.
That night as Erin lay in bed talking to God, she told Him how scared and lost she had felt and how grateful she was that Dad had come in to show her the way out. She told God that she knew her Dad right now must feel just like she had in the maze. She prayed that he would not be lost and confused anymore. She prayed that God would light his path and show him the way home. She asked God to come and take him by the hand and lead him out.
Erin slept peacefully that night, knowing in her heart that the Lord had already worked His miracle for their family. It was just a matter of time before her dad found his way out.
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away!” Matthew 18:12-13 (NLT)
A Stander in Nebraska