Obstacle or Opportunity
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:11-13
My grandpa used to say, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I remember these words. I even mutter this phrase to myself from time to time. Usually for little things, like when I stub my toe. Another family favorite is Grandpa’s motto, “If all else fails, use brute force.” I don’t recall ever hearing him say this, but this was his go to method for dealing with difficult situations (like when we couldn’t get a pickle jar open).
There is a family story about a time when he was traveling abroad. Grandpa had been on the road a long time and wanted to get into this hotel room to get some rest. But he couldn’t get the door to his hotel room open. So, remembering his days as a football player, he did what came naturally to him and busted the door down with his shoulder. Only to later realize that the door was supposed to be pulled open, instead of pushed. We laugh about these shenanigans and know that he laughed too. While this is one memory, what else do I remember about my grandpa? He was born in a small town in North Dakota, became VP in a big company, traveled the world, and even met some pretty famous people (I won’t name drop here, though it is tempting). These are things he did. The legacy he left was that he never let obstacles define him. He never let obstacles stop him. Instead, he let obstacles strengthen him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28
Romans 8:28 has alternately encouraged and frustrated me. Encouraged, because I really believe it. Frustrated because I have at times shouted, “Really!? You’re going to somehow make this good!?” Or maybe because it’s quoted at the absolutely worst moments. This is not a verse I want to hear right after losing a loved one. But I do believe in God’s Word. And I do trust Him. So… hard as it is at times, I always fall back on this verse. And when Grandpa said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” I think he meant Romans 8:28. Some things are really hard to get through. But- (BIG but here*)- when we’ve walked through all the hardships and come out on the other side, that’s when we can look back and see God’s sustaining hand guiding us, holding us, and helping us. That’s when we begin to realize that He is sovereign and He can pull good out of the bad, light out of the dark, miracles out of nothing.
And as long as I’m quoting people- a friend of mine recently said, “Maybe the answer to our prayers is us.” Meaning, instead of praying and then sitting back and waiting for God to move (like he’s some kind of good luck charm or a genie in a bottle). Maybe the answer to our prayers is for us to move. Not recklessly or without reason, but with His peace and passion in our hearts. I told my husband this thought and he said, “Yep. I suppose everyone would have drowned if Noah hadn’t build the boat.” In the end someone has to do something. Someone has to reach out a helping hand, lend a shoulder to cry on, love when it is hard to love, and more. And who could possibly do all those things?
Me. You. The Body of Christ. The Children of God. Those of us who have chosen Jesus as our savior and received Holy Spirit as our comforter. We’re kinda it.
So, tag! You’re it! Your turn to be an answer to prayer. You have one gigantic backer in this, so their is no need to fear! As Grandpa would say, “Go get ’em!”
Lord, thank you that you have saved us by your son’s blood. Thank you that you gave your all. Help us to be the kind of people who give our all for You. Change our hearts to be filled with love, and give us the confidence we need to be the ones who chase after your ways and not the world’s ways. Bless us to be your hands and feet. Thank you that you never give up on us. Thank you that some how, we can co-labor along side you and even through us (the messed up, sinners, confused, timid and afraid) you can work your miracles. In Jesus name, Amen!
*ha ha ha…. I made a joke…**
**sorry, I have kids, this is the humor level we are at right now.