Years ago, I was traveling to a remote village to set up a mobile medical clinic. Suddenly, in a particularly muddy section of the road, a large cattle truck had overturned, blocking the way. No cows were harmed, but they were scattered all around. We waited for hours until a tractor came to tow the truck, and the cows were herded back to safety. I never forgot that incident, mostly because it is funny to think of cows running wild from an overturned truck, but also because it taught me to always expect obstacles when driving on muddy roads.
WE LIVE IN A MUDDY WORLD
In a fallen world filled with fallen people, obstacles are expected. A wise person once said at any given moment in life, you are either walking towards, going through, or coming out of an obstacle.
WHAT TO DO WHEN OBSTACLES SHOW UP
The first thing we did when we faced the overturned truck was stop and assess the situation. In life, the first useful step to overcome obstacles is to take a step back and evaluate the situation before you act, seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Life doesn’t always give us much time or space for this, but an objective and prayerful assessment can help us discern how God will get us through.
THREE STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME
As believers, we look at an obstacle with the knowledge that God is with us, and He will help us overcome. With this in mind, here are three responses to consider when muddy roads lie ahead:
Push through, God will knock down the obstacle. Remember David and Goliath? With a simple sling and five stones, God used David to cleverly take the giant down and remove that threat to God’s people. I am not suggesting we kill those who oppose us, but rather to trust God to provide the strategy and the strength to push through and knock down circumstances blocking the fulfillment of His purpose.
Take your time, God will find a detour. Remember Herod and baby Jesus? The king wanted to eliminate the competition by getting rid of Jesus. God appeared in two dreams, once to the wise men who took a detour on their way east, and another time to Joseph, who moved his family to Egypt until Herod was gone. God always has a plan and will make a way to ensure you are in the right place at just the right time.
Watch and see, God will turn the obstacle into an opportunity. Remember Joseph and his wicked brothers? They sold him as a slave out of spite, but God used this obstacle to transform Joseph’s character, raise him up as a leader, and save his entire family.
A SOBERING POSSIBILITY
Finally, there is one sobering alternative. In His sovereignty, God sometimes allows certain obstacles to actually stop us. Many times our goals are uncompleted and our vision becomes frustrated. We may not always understand why God allows us to lose at times, but remember this: Even in our losses, our character is built, our faith strengthened, and our hope renewed. Even if we lose everything, like many martyrs of the Christian faith, we will ultimately end up in total and final victory in the arms of our Lord and Savior.
What kind of obstacles are you facing? How is God leading you to respond?