Looking at the obstacle
In business as well as in life we come across all kinds of obstacles that hinder us or try to prevent us from reaching certain goals. These obstacles can range from situational to emotional to physical and spiritual. Obstacles are a nuisance and can be down right debilitating; overcoming the obstacles, a challenge.
I'm sure you can look back even at the last 7 days and recognise situations that haven't gone to plan or even went in quite the opposite direction.
What was your response? Or should I say what was your reaction?
The book of James tells us right at the beginning to "Count it all joy, brothers, when you come across all kinds of tests"
But I’m Different
"Well that's easy for you to say, you haven't seen what I'm going through right now!" And you're right. I don't have a clue what's going on in your life: but then again you don't know what my struggles are doing to me either.
But I have learnt something special that I want to share with you today.
Have a look again at James chapter 1 and verse 2, now read the next 2 verses: James 1:3-4
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Whoa there! Step back a minute! You mean that if I endure this tough season with patience and prayerful consideration, that good will come of it? Well, yes that's what my bible reads... I have found in life and am finding more and more, the importance and the value of looking past the obstacle.
Examples from History
I want to draw your attention here to the book of Ruth. When she tethered herself to Naomi her mother in law, even though they both were widows with little or no hope of a future, the obstacles in their lives had been great, they had lost everything. a stranger in a strange land, a foreigner with no possessions and no future and a bitter past. Her attitude was: "your people will be my people and your God will be my God." obstacle words? No words of hope and determination. What did the testing of her faith bring? Only the richest dude in town! She ended up lacking nothing.
When Jesus hung on the cross, what did he say to the penitent thief? "today you will be with me in paradise". Don't you think that kind of weird when you really ponder this? I mean, here were 3 men crucified, suffering the most painful torturous death imaginable, and Jesus looks past His pain, and sees the thief with Him in paradise.
We think we're doing it tough when we get a flat tyre on the way to work or someone we thought was a friend spreads malicious gossip about us, but I scarcely think we really understand what real suffering is about; especially suffering for our faith.
Where am I going with this? Little obstacles in our way are opportunities to honour God and grow in spiritual stature. Without the tough times we would not be half the people we are.
I know a lady, a dear friend, 70+ years old and suffering with cancer. Suffering? There is little left of her, she can't keep food down, there are artificial bits added to her body to help make life comfortable. I asked her how she deals with this. She said: " I don't know why God hasn't healed me yet, but every time I have to go to the hospital for chemotherapy or treatment, I look for someone I can encourage and talk to about the goodness of God. I think this is my mission field ."
Don’t blame God
This beautiful lady does not blame God for her obstacle, she praises Him in it. I'm not saying she's hyper faith, she's certainly not in denial, how can she be? But she loves Jesus and knows that whatever she faces, she is a part of God's bigger picture, and she has her part to play in it. She rarely misses an opportunity to attend church, and she always looks amazing.
This lady has her eyes firmly fixed on the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Count it all joy... Keep your eye on the call... You have a holy calling, and obstacles will get in your way.
I see the Bible, God's Word, as a kind of holy roadmap. The Holy Spirit is like the voice on my Spiritual Sat Nav.
When God directs you to go somewhere, He usually means for you to get there. And when you stray off the directed path, the Holy Spirit gently re-writes the route to your goal. When you come across obstacles in your way, preventing you from reaching your holy calling, God's Word is there. His Holy Spirit is the voice in your ear to direct and guide your path.
Are you listening? Are you hearing the voice? Like the Sat-Nav, He never loses patience, he's just saying:" take the next turn..." and directing you back to the call.
Have a blessed week.