Several years ago, Bill and I took our kids to Oahu and, as part of that vacation, visited the Dole Pineapple Plantation. If you ever get the privilege of going to the islands and happen to be on Oahu, you really must go to the Dole Pineapple Plantation and have the pineapple whip. If the tour of Pearl Harbor, the open-air market, palm trees, ocean breezes, and plumeria blossoms aren’t enough, the whip alone will make your whole trip worthwhile.
Along with the wonders of learning about pineapples, the Plantation boasts an incredible maze. The maze stretches over three acres, is almost two and a half miles of pathways, and is made up of green shrubbery and other colorful Hawaiian plants. It is big, confusing, (even with the map they give you) and completely awesome. I remember wandering around with the kiddos and reaching dead end after dead end. Since you can’t see over the foliage you wander from station to station, strategically placed throughout the maze, all in the hopes of reaching the pay off – a big, giant pineapple made of shrubbery in the middle. I admit it was a tad hot walking the paths, I grew a little impatient, and there was an irrational thought that I’d never find my way out.
Do you ever feel like you’re in a situation that is confusing, uncertain, perhaps scary, and seems totally too big to handle and you’re uncertain which path to take? Maybe you become impatient, afraid, or even angry as you attempt to navigate through the maze of life. When we are in the middle of uncertainty, so often, it is difficult to see God’s leading hand and even understand the purpose of the journey.
But purpose there is, even if not evident in all the circumstances and vicissitudes of life. How grateful I am that there is a map God has given us, the Bible that guides me as I walk on the paths of life. The Bible says, Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path. Ps. 119:105 The familiar verses in Proverbs encourage me to Trust in the Lord with all [my] heart, And lean not on [my] own understanding; In all [my] ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct [my] paths. Proverbs 3:5,6
Right now there may be a maze that you are walking through – uncertain of the next steps, confused by the ultimate purpose. God knows. When there seems to be no good reason for the journey you are walking, rest assured God is there, quietly leading you to the ultimate prize. Ps 142:3 says, When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, Then You knew my path. Feeling overwhelmed? Let God guide you on your particular path. Keep walking. Sometimes one little step at a time.
When we reached the pineapple, it all made sense. The payoff was pretty incredible. The kids were delighted and we all felt that we had accomplished something pretty neat. Hot, but joyful, we went and had some pineapple whip – the ultimate reward.
We may not see where God is leading in the moment, but there is a great payoff in the end. Someday, when we look at how God has led us on our paths, our struggles, the uncertainties, confusion, and questions will all make sense. The ultimate payoff? Better than a giant pineapple or even a pineapple whip – an eternity, with no death, disease, sadness, fear, with our Heavenly Father who loves us just as we are. Now that’s a path worth walking.