• Barb Lownsbury

Tackling Life’s Obstacles

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I find there are things I can never learn enough about. Obstacles are one of them. I hope someday my faith will grow to the point where I laugh in the face of obstacles because my belief in Jesus’ power is that great. As of right now, however, I don’t. I still struggle. My first gut reaction is to think, “Ouch. This is hard/scary/overwhelming/frustrating/deflating/crushing. I can’t do this.” I have to wrestle through with God to land in a position of faith.

And while I never thought I’d say it, I’m grateful God doesn’t rescue me from this wrestling process, that He doesn’t simply remove the obstacle and let me run ahead smoothly. I’ve come to realize if He did, I would lose out on so many great life lessons and the blessings that lay on the other side of those challenges.

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). So true! The challenge, the obstacle, the mountain that looms ahead seems heavy, large, imposing. I know I can’t tackle it on my own. I know I will need every bit of courage and strength and faith that God can give me if I’m to move forward.

In the knowing, I find myself praying longer. I pull out my Bible with a renewed zeal. I begin searching for how God would like me to connect more deeply with Him, and what He is trying to birth in my heart, mind and spirit. I step outside of the little box I’ve inadvertently placed my relationship with God in and remember anew how vast, how high, how deep and how rich is His love for me and His incomparably great power for those who believe (Ephesians 3:18; 1:19).

Sometimes I cry; sometimes I yell. Oftentimes I sing songs of joy, reminding myself of who it is I worship. I take out all my spiritual trophies one by one—the victories, the blessings, the incredible odds God has defied in my life to make me an overcomer. I remember my Creator who faithfully crafted and gave me each one, and the mountain He had to move to bring it to fruition.

As I wrestle through my thoughts and emotions with Him, special things start happening. I see aspects of Jesus in a richer, more meaningful light. I allow God to take my faith and trust in Him deeper within my spirit. I remember that nobody knows me like Jesus, right down to the number of hairs on my head. He knows the good, the bad and the ugly, and still chooses to lavish His love, mercy and grace on me with an extravagant hand. I remember this mountain is not mine to move. It’s His. I am not in control, even when I think I am. But always, always—He is.

I am not on the throne of my life; Jesus is. It is His to guide. His to mold. His to shape and move forward with. Once again, I firmly relinquish that seat I’m always tempted to crawl back up on and place it firmly back into His capable hands. In doing so, humble awe washes over me of who He is and what He has done and will continue to do in my life and the life of many, many others. Peace that passes understanding seeps into the depth of my bones. Jesus’ gentle and easy love shores up my spirit and allows me to let Him lead me once again to fresh, green pastures.

When, together, we reach the other side of the challenge, I know without a doubt it was God doing His thing in my life. I can’t claim the credit. I’m not even tempted to try because I already know I would’ve never arrived there left to my own devices. And in that field of deliverance lies bountiful blessings and rich, internal treasures that fill me up with incredible joy. My soul sings out to the one who performs a great miracle in my life—the transformation and renewal of my soul. Then when the next obstacle comes, it’s just a little easier to wrestle.

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT: Ephesians 1:18-19 says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” When you catch yourself wanting to take the reins of your life back into your hands, read this scripture often to remind yourself God’s power is so much greater and His blessings so much richer than yours. Prayerfully place those reins firmly back into Jesus’ hands no matter how many times it takes. I’ve literally had seasons where I was praying, I’m letting this go back to you so many times in an hour I’ve lost count! Commit to wrestling through all of those messy thoughts and emotions with God, and fight back against them with your positive truths, the scriptures that tell you the real story of who you are and whose you are. Breakthroughs rarely come quickly, but the more we learn to surrender to God’s timing, the more peace we experience along the way.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you that you love me with an exuberant, rich love. Fill my spirit with joy in Your presence. When I’m tempted to quit, to let the obstacles dictate my pathway instead of my faith in Your divine leading, help me to remember you have already promised me the victory. I know that to the degree I trust you dictates the degree of peace I experience, so help me surrender my situation into your capable hands. Your power is vast and great, and You are willing to use it for my good. I am in awe. Thank you, Papa. Help me to praise You even when it hurts so I may experience the breakthrough and growth you have just waiting for me. I love you, Lord. Amen.

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