Snakes & Ladders

I love board games!
My family will attest to this. Ever since I was a kid I have loved playing games. And as the kids have grown, we have always played games as a family. Now I am not a competitive person (well, not all the time!) and I am not a strategic player, but I love to sit round the table with friends or family and spend time together….and most of the time this is accompanied with eating chocolate!

There is a great feeling when you have reached world domination,¬†brought every property on the board or won all the cards in a hand. Yep, winning is definitely a good feeling! (I did say I wasn’t competitive didn’t I?)

But, there are a couple of games which I refuse to play. Last card is one of these. I really (really) can’t stand this game. I am not a mean player and so I hate making people pick up cards or changing direction when they are about to win. I also dislike when someone does that to me. The other game which I can’t stand is snakes and ladders! Again, I think this game is just mean and sliding down a snake when you are two squares away from winning is not my idea of a good time. And I have learned over the years, there are some people I won’t play games with. I don’t mind if they are strategic or out to win, but I can’t play with people who are sneaky, nasty or vindictive…..not that I have many friends like that!!

As I was thinking about all this game playing, and pondering life as I often do, I couldn’t help but think how much my life is like a game of snakes and ladders. So often I feel like I am winning at life! I feel like things are going on track and I am making progress, and then BAM! I land on a snake and somehow I end up where I was weeks ago, and I need to push forward again, covering ground I have already covered.

And so I pick myself up and I carry on…..only to find that just when I feel like I am winning again, somehow I have landed on a snake, and there I go, down that curly wurly tail to a place that is so familiar, but so frustrating.

It is a roller coaster ride of highs when we get to climb that ladder, and lows when we hit that snake.

Sometimes I look around at people I am doing life with or people I admire, and they seem to avoid the snakes, their life seems to be one ladder after another, climbing higher and higher while I seem to be heading in the opposite direction! Really God? Why is my life filled with so many snakes and theirs is so full of ladders? Can’t you just roll the dice so I can avoid the snakes and hit all the ladders? Why can’t my life be more like a game of candyland?

You know, all sweet and sticky with beautiful bright colours, and where it is easy to win? But even as I ask that question, I already know the answer……Who ever said life was going to be easy? Who told us that life was like a game of candyland where life is sweet and easy? Where is the growth in that? Where is the stretching where we grow in God and learn to trust in Him, when we fall down yet another snake?

How else will I learn perseverance, stamina, and grow my resilience? How will appreciate the good times if I don’t fall down a snake every once in a while?
And how will I learn to trust in God if I get to climb every ladder I come across?

So I am not sure where you are this week, I hope you are climbing a ladder, but if by some chance you feel like you are sliding down a snake, hang in there? There are seasons of snakes and there are seasons of ladders, but at the end of the day we will all end up at the finish line, where we will long to hear those words “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”