One of the most common concerns among believers is trying to figure out the right path that God has planned for them. They pray that God will give them a clear direction, stating they want to serve God’s will and not waste their time going down the wrong path. The problem is, most of these people already have a direction in mind. They then get frustrated or confused when God doesn’t seem to be leading them down the path they think they should be going.
This is where the comparison comes in. If you ever played any of the first-person shooter type video games, you may have noticed a few things they have in common.
1. They all end in one particular goal
2. There is usually different settings/ levels you must tackle before achieving the goal
3. It’s not a straight shot to get to that goal
4. There are a lot of enemies and obstacles that stand between you and the finish.
Often in life, we come across paths that we are pretty sure we are supposed to take, but for one reason or another, the door that we think leads to that path remains closed. When this happens, we tend to become frustrated and start doubting ourselves, wondering if we are going the right way or where to go instead.
In video games, there are many similar occurrences. You know that in order to proceed you must somehow get from where you are to the next stage of the game. Unfortunately, the logical path that you would assume you should take is blocked. So what do you do? I doubt that you give up and say “I guess this is the end of the game since I can’t seem to get through.” No, you start searching for another way through. Sometimes the alternative is easy to find, sometimes though you must spend a lot of time searching for a not so obvious path or something to unblock the path you are on. In any good game, these alternative paths are not just a walk in the park. They typically require some specific action from you or they require you to fight off a room full of enemies before you can proceed.
In life, often the path that we think God is leading us down will become blocked with its own set of challenges, forcing us to find an alternative route. God may still be leading us to that room on the other side of the door eventually, but instead of giving us a straight path through, He is telling us not yet and that we are going have to do something else first. In a video game, these alternative paths are built in to prevent the game from being too boring and straight forward, while also building skills for later levels in the game. In real life, they are designed to build character and bring us closer to God.
As we go through the game of life, we often find ourselves in situations that often cause us to doubt that we are going the right way. We come across enemies we have a hard time defeating, and we encounter seemingly impossible circumstances that make us want to just quit and give up. But like in a video game, there is always a way out. God doesn’t give us challenges that we would be incapable of handling either ourselves or with the help of others. Granted sometimes we must try over and over again to get things right; when we do, we breathe a sigh of relief and proceed with even more confidence than before, knowing that the finish is near.
Just like in video games, you sometimes have to go out of your way to find resources that will help you in upcoming battles. In games, these resources may be guns, keys, or other characters. In life, these resources would include biblical training, mentors and a community of believers to support you on your quest with money, knowledge or simply prayer. The battles you face as a Christian and human in general, should never be fought without the help of at least one of those resources.
To me, one of the most stressful but exciting parts of a game is when you approach a new area in the game and all you hear is the monsters or enemies on the other side. You know that you are about to enter a big mess on the other side, but you also know you must proceed if you want to finish the game. Before entering these battles what do you do? If you are a daredevil and in full health and ammo, you might just rush in and start shooting everything that moves hoping for the best, but more often than not, you still get shot and die. If you are low on health or ammo, though, you will probably take the time to come up with a plan of action of how to tackle the challenge. You may have to just rush in head first in order to identify what you have to deal with and you may die in doing so, but the next time through you should have a plan.
In real life, your enemies are people who don’t agree with your beliefs or those who just want to discourage you or keep you from succeeding. You may face obstacles that prevent you from going a certain direction or circumstances that just make you have to try that much harder to win. But, in the end, if you have God on your side, no matter how many times you may have to repeat a level of your life, God will eventually help you through it. God will never send you into a room full of enemies or obstacles that He knows you would never be able to tackle.
When you become faced with a challenge, some of us do just rush into things without much thought or planning. Occasionally you will make it through alright, but more often than not, poor planning and thought leads to problems. Each new stage of your life, or path to an unknown should always start with at least a prayer to God for His support and strength to get through whatever you may encounter. If you know you are about to tackle something really challenging, enlisting the support from fellow believers is also a good idea.
So, although we sometimes face choices that may look like God has forgotten about us and let us venture down a wrong path, that is not the case. God will be with us no matter what path we end up taking. If we find ourselves going the wrong way, God will be there to get you turned back around when you ask for help. If you find yourself in a challenging situation, God will be there to provide the knowledge of what to do or say. If you feel like you are going toward a dead end, ask God what He is trying to teach you. Maybe you are meant to encounter another lost person and bring them back to the right path. Maybe the path is meant to develop character so that you can be prepared for larger obstacles in the future. Or maybe He just wants you to realize that you can’t do things on your own and you need Him there with you to succeed.
So, no matter how many doors are blocked or how many monsters we face, there is always way out. The game of life may be hard, but God is always with you to lead you through it. There is one goal, but hundreds of ways to get there. Don’t worry so much about choosing the right path, just worry about being well equipped to handle whatever is on the path you choose. The game of life may be hard, but each challenge you face just makes you that much stronger for every following challenge. So don’t give up when life seems impossible or when you feel like all the doors are being shut on you. Keep looking for that way out, and the reward will be well worth the effort.