January 29, 2009

Trusting... Even in the Face of Obstacles

When I was growing up, I loved to watch Battle of the Network Stars (Tom Selleck and Scott Baio in shorts...need I say more?). My favorite event was the obstacle course. I enjoyed watching the celebrities squirm through, jump across and climb over the various obstacles to race to the finish line. Watching it on television was fun.

In real life...not so much.

I'm not an athletic girl. I watch sports. I don't do them. So, it's not likely that you'll ever see me climbing over a wall or crawling through a tunnel. But if you look closely enough, you're sure to see me trying to navigate tweendom, hold on through the ups and downs of R's job, and wade through the muck of my sin.

God's obstacle course.

In their flight from Egypt, the Israelites encountered a huge obstacle...as big as the ocean. Faced with the Red Sea on one side and the approaching Egyptian army on the other, the people blamed Moses for leading them to certain death. Moses' response?

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)

No need to manipulate the situation or panic at the circumstances. Be still.

Look what God says next, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on..." (v. 15)

It seems that God was saying Forget about the obstacle in front of you...get over it and move on already! But how?

When faced with an obstacle that seems too large to overcome, we must:

Remember that God brought us to this place. He specifically led the Israelites to the Red Sea (see Exodus 13-14). He knew exactly where He was taking them and what they would face.

Remember that God hasn't deserted us.

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them,coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. (vv. 19-20)

God moved behind the Israelites to fight off the enemy. He literally had their backs. They may have wondered where He went...been more focused on the obstacle before them than the enemy ready to pounce on them (anyone...anyone?). They may have wanted Him to shield them from the obstacle so that they wouldn't have to confront it. Instead, he shielded them from an enemy that was powerful enough to consume them. The obstacle was nothing compared to the enemy.

Remember that Believers have the power to overcome the obstacles.

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
~Matthew 17:20

We have the Holy Spirit...and the power that Paul spoke of in his letter to the church at Ephesus:

I pray also 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 the saints,and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms...
~Ephesians 1:18-20

I can't imagine anything more powerful than the power to overcome death. That power is available to us, and it will help us confront and conquer the obstacles we face. If I'm going to trust God, I must realize that He's going to bring me to those obstacles that seem too large to hurdle. It's only in overcoming those obstacles that I'll live a life full of victories that can only be explained by Him.

And aren't those the only victories worth having?



Heather C said...

Amen! I was thinking along similar lines this week... if I had never known heartache, I wouldn't understand the healing touch of my Lord. If I'd never had to scale a wall, I'd never understand what it is to have His righteous hand uphold me. If I'd never known loneliness or insecurity, I wouldn't fully comprehend the "belonging" I have found in Him. The key is to remain focused on the Savior, instead of the situation. What a great post, Melissa!

Holly said...

Yes, they are!

I see that your daughter got her wisdom from her Mama. :0)

Love you!