They climbed down the hillside together, more cliff than hill, more sliding than climbing, trying to get to the bottom so they could explore the creek at the edge of the golf course. Once at the bottom, they realized the creek wasn’t as interesting as it seemed from above. So they turned to head back up the hill, but at this point they realized the huge mistake they made. Going down had been challenging, but climbing back up would be impossible. It was too steep and slippery.
They turned the other direction and faced a field of corn. It seemed they were hemmed in on all sides, like a group of soldiers, cut off from their home base, or in this case, their parents and the hamburgers grilling back at the campground. They needed a plan.
The older of the two calmed the younger, bringing assurances that they would indeed find a way home. He remembered seeing, back when they were at the top of the hill, a golf course in the distance beyond the cornfield. And where there is a golf course, there are people. He had grown up in corn country, but one thing he had heard thousands of times was never enter a cornfield when it’s taller than your head. It’s too easy to get turned around and lost. And if you get lost in a cornfield, you might walk right through Iowa and Nebraska before you make it out.
So here’s what he did. Over where the clubhouse should be, he could see a flagpole. As long as they could keep their eye on the flag, they could keep their bearings and keep heading in the right direction through the cornfield. So he grabbed the hand of his young companion, chose a row, and stepped into the corn.
Mark 12:30-31 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ ‘The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” In this life you will encounter challenges. Things won’t always go the way you want, and sometimes you’ll even stumble into a bad situation of your own doing. When life feels overwhelming, keep things simple and focus on the essentials, loving God and others. It’s like lifting your eyes above the corn to focus on something higher, something that will help you keep your bearings and guide you through the maze of life.
They kept moving through the corn and eventually stepped out onto the 13th fairway. The older gentleman in a backswing almost had a heart attack, but once he heard their story, he helped them get back to their families. And the hamburgers.
When have you felt overwhelmed by a life circumstance and how did you get through it?
Jesus, we thank you for reminding us of the essential importance of loving God and loving others. When we feel overwhelmed by life, even if it’s our own fault, remind us to focus on the essentials, to raise our eyes above the noise and distractions, and to trust you to lead us to safety.