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Obstacles — or Opportunities?

Greetings from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. It’s a perfect day to sit outside with a good book and enjoy the beauty.

As I was praying and meditating recently, I came across this Scripture:

And there came a lion… (1 Sam. 17:34 KJV)

We wouldn’t think that a lion was a special blessing from God, but when that lion came to destroy the flock, it presented a wonderful opportunity for David — although it was disguised as an obstacle! If David had not conquered his “lion,” he might have missed God’s opportunity for him and probably would never have come to be God’s chosen king of Israel.

When our lions of discouragement, doubt, despair — and sometimes, even seemingly, God’s silent treatment — come, they are nevertheless His opportunities, no matter what the circumstances seem to look like at the moment. Remember that the very tabernacle of God was covered with badgers’ skins and goats’ hair. One would not think there would be any glory to be found there. But God in His shekinah glory was made manifest under that kind of covering. My friends, no matter what, God can use any and every situation in life to bless us and make us a blessing to others.

Our anxieties come from asking the wrong kinds of questions: What if something goes wrong? What if I lose my job? And so on. The truth is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you can immediately see Jesus in it and, together with Him, handle anything that comes your way (Rom. 8:39).

Let’s take a look together at Psalm 65 (using the NIV, NKJV and Amplified translations) and see how we can make opportunities out of all our obstacles by leaning on Him:

“Praise awaits You, O God…” (v.1)

We have the privilege of submitting our praise to Him in the face of obstacles and

walking in faithfulness in our service to Him.

“O You who hear prayer…” (v.2)

Instead of trying to figure it out, we have the opportunity to die to our own

human reasoning and allow Him to reveal His wisdom to us.

“Blessed is the main You choose and cause to approach You…” (v.4)

We are invited to come near in prayer and ministry to the Lord and fully experience

the “good things” of His house in the midst of trials.

“You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds…” (v.5)

As we learn to walk in the fear of the Lord, we can function daily in His power,

purpose and presence, satisfied and content just being with Him, regardless of

our circumstances. What He has spoken WILL happen!

“(You) who formed the mountains by Your power, having armed Yourself with strength…” (v.6)

His power can cause us to overcome the mountains of difficulty — our obstacles and

anxieties — by His might, authority, and strength!

“(You) who stilled the roaring of the seas…” (v.7)

He has power to still the roaring seas in our lives — those winds and waves of circumstances that can cause doubt, disappointment and despair to overwhelm us.

“...Where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy” (v.8b)

Whether it be in the morning or the evening, He, by His presence, causes us to be

filled so that we can shout for joy! We are reminded that the joy of the Lord is our

strength” (Neh. 8:10).

“You care for the land and water it…” (v.9)

The Lord visits us and washes us with the water of His love and His word so that we

can be blessed and be a blessing. His waters of life fill us and overflow through us! His

“grain” (provision) is there for us because He has prepared us for every obstacle in life

if we hear and if we obey the big “ifs” in life.

“You drench (the land’s) furrows...You soften it with showers... (v.10)

As the “water” of the Holy Spirit flows through our lives, God makes the soil of our

life soft with showers of new hope, strength, vision, and peace sprouting from our

vegetation (our growth and maturity in Him during each new season).

“You crown the year with Your bounty...” (v.11)

Our days are crowned with His abundance (the supply of His Spirit) and His carts (the

receptacles that display His power and presence in our lives) overflow with the riches

of greater peace, joy and hope.

I believe that three little words will help make this truth — of seeing our obstacles as His opportunities — come alive in new ways and take us through every valley and every mountain of difficulty (James 4:6-10; 2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV):

Commit your day and your way

Commune as you lean into Him in every area of your life

Connect and stay connected to the Source of love, knowledge and grace

Don’t be anxious about the path ahead. In Him is everything that we need as we walk on. Let’s simply learn to follow Him more closely, knowing that He is our security and that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Dear friends, so often we stand still, waiting for the storm to pass...while God wants to teach us to dance in the rain.

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