Obstacles are part of life. We face them daily and when we do, I don’t know about you, I don’t like them. They keep me from forward movement. Obstacles are a frustration that distracts from my goal. They are the enemy. Right? What do you do when you encounter obstacles? Scream? Give up? Roll over? Or…do you press harder? Become more determined? Build some backbone? If you do the latter then guess what? Obstacles have become your friend!
Now I am not naive enough to imply that obstacles don’t obstruct, deter and even discourage us from our goals at times, but we can develop some pretty good muscle when we come up against them. Obstacles are meant to resist and push against our dreams but in God’s economy, they have a greater goal…the perfecting of our faith. Which God says is worth more than gold.
1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
I’ve always had trouble with this passage because when trouble comes to me my first reaction is not joy but frustration. I know, I have a long way to go. But I am finding that when I respond in this way, it only makes things worse. Perhaps the situation doesn’t get worse, but I do! I become very hard to live with. I question God and become distracted from the truth of His Word. My reality, in that situation, becomes my focus instead of the truth of what God has said. When that happens, I lose my perspective and my abilitiy to move beyond the obstacle and I become a prisonor to my circumstances. This has been my experience more times than I care to admit. EXCEPT..when I choose to grab the Word and believe it instead of what the obstacle is saying. This is easier said than done and if you’ve lived long enough, you know this to be true.
I have to decide in that moment, what outcome I want. Do I want to be brought into captivity to my situation or do I want to rise above it and live as a conqueror? I am not saying it’s easy, but it is possible. All things are possible to him who BELIEVES. Obstacles can be both friend and foe. Our response determines their relationship to us. With God, they can be friends who build us and develop our faith muscles or they can be used to bring us into utter discouragement. There is no middle ground here, we either allow the obstacle to bind us or we allow it to propell us forward into a deeper place of faith and strength. We make the choice, God does the work.
Living a radical life of worship is all about FAITH. And obstacles will push us into a greater place of dependency on God and His truth. When all is said and done, our world and all we know is held in place only by the word of His power. Hebrews 1:3 NKJV …..who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
It is our only place of confidence when obstacles come and our greatest victory!