Obstacle or Opportunity

“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  James 1:12 (NKJV)

We all face stressful situations in life, but how we choose to deal with them will ultimately set us apart form the world. As human beings born into a sinful world, we are prone to “grumble.” The Israelites did it for generations. Every time you turn a page, you find the Israelites grumbling about something and God has to straighten them out. Are we not sometimes the same way? How often do you complain about traffic or the line at the grocery store? I know I do it more often than I would like to admit. So how are we to handle our stressful situations?

It is all in the way we look at them that will determine how we approach the solutions. Do you view them as an obstacle in life or an opportunity to grow? This is a key question that we have to learn to ask in every situation. If we can master this question and answer it honestly, we can be on the road to learning more about God’s character and ours as well.

Obstacle is defined as “a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress.” We tend to look at life’s challenges as obstacles in achieving what we believe we need in life. When we hit this point in our lives, our natural instinct is to fight to overcome or find another path. The latter is usually not an option so we continue to fight our way through the challenge as though our lives depended on it.

Now an opportunity is defined as “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” When we are faced with an opportunity we carefully weigh our options and make a decision based on emotion and prosperity. These are sometimes so much easier to deal with. We often experience a lot less stress and find that making a decision brings a sense of peace to our hearts. However, for those who jump at every opportunity without considering the consequences end up creating another obstacle from an intended opportunity.

Because of free will, life is full of choices so when God allows something to take place in our lives, He is giving us a chance for personal and spiritual growth and discovery. We can learn to look at them as an opportunity or an obstacle. Is this an opportunity for me to grow in my faith and prayer disciplines by turning to God for answers or will I simply grumble that yet another obstacle is in my way?

God desires for us to use these situations as opportunities to come closer to Him and in return, He will draw closer us (James 4:8). What a marvelous opportunity to come into a fuller relationship with God! In order for this to happen we have to learn to trust and have faith that He will lead us in the right direction.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

The evil one will jump on every situation if we allow him to. If we decide to look at the situation as an obstacle it only gives him opportunity to use it against us. But, if we look at it as an opportunity, he will find an obstacle in his path. Rest assured that God has a plan for your life but you have to be willing to allow it to happen as He intended.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

It is oh so easy to get caught in a trap of looking at life as an obstacle. We all have desires and dreams that are rooted in our own wants and needs. It is only when we learn to let go of the world that we can ever learn what it is to be truly free. God has promised endurance, strength, courage, and wisdom in our times of need. All we have to do is ask for it.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”     Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV)

Dear Father, I come before You today humbled by the fact that only You can rescue me from all that this sinful world throws my way. It is only by Your amazing grace endless mercy that I am here. I thank You for each and every person that reads this today and I ask that You will be with them as they face whatever trials and temptations are thrown their way. May they learn to turn to You for the answers they seek in their lives and may they only find those answers at the cross. You are a faithful God and only desire for us to be happy and abide in Your presence. May we all continue to give Your Son all the glory forever. Amen.