Managing Obstacles

📅 July 20, 2020

Most people hate change. We arrange our lives, our schedules, our family’s schedules and hope we can keep moving, unimpeded, toward our goals, carrying out our plans without a hitch or a glitch.

And yet, sometimes: the night before the party, the refrigerator stops working. The week before school starts, your child breaks her arm and starts 1st grade in a cast. Your husband is called in for a meeting with the boss; he thinks it’s going to be a promotion, but instead he’s told he’s being laid off. You are supposed to leave on vacation, but the car breaks down.  

Has any year taught us more lessons about “change” than 2020?

Change is part of the fabric of our lives and is, in fact, a sure promise of the covenant God made with man following the flood.

Genesis 8:22. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

It is not always day or always night, always hot or always cold. The weather changes. Seasons change. Children grow. Friendships grow. Knowledge grows. Heartaches end. Hearts mend. Trials end. We learn. We improve. We gain insight.

When faced with an obstacle, a disruption to your plans, hindrance to your progress, try this:      

Look back and remember.

You can find repeated examples of this in the Bible. The children of Israel, for example, were forever looking back to the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea.

Psalm 106: 9. He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.

Psalm 106: 22. Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.

Acts 7:36. He brought them out, after that he had showed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.

Hebrews 11:29. By faith they passed through the Red seas as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

If today, you are frustrated by your current situation…for whatever reason…take some time to sit down and look back.

Look back at all God has done for you, how He has guided you, moved you, detoured you, blocked your way, opened doors, spared you, and provided for you.

Remember. Be thankful. And use your experience to help someone else.

When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light. Oswald Chambers

Look up and wait.

Esther 2:5-7 Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai… who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity…And he brought up Hadassah, that is, Esther, his uncle’s daughter: for she had neither father nor mother, and the maid was fair, and beautiful; whom Mordecai, when her father and mother were dead, took for his own daughter.  

Mordecai was removed from his home and taken into captivity and assumed the responsibility of his cousin, Esther, but he did not allow this obstacle to make him bitter and resentful.  His willingness to surrender to God’s sovereign purpose was a key component of God’s working to preserve the lives of His chosen people.  

He must have taught Esther the same attitude toward God’s purposes. Otherwise, she would not have followed his leadership and his instructions throughout the story. 

2:21-23 In those days, while Mordecai sat in the king’s gate, two of the king’s chamberlains…sought to lay hand on the king Ahasuerus. And the thing was known to Mordecai, who told it unto Esther the queen; and Esther certified the king thereof in Mordecai’s name. And when inquisition was made of the matter, it was found out…and it was written in the book of the chronicles before the king.

This service which Mordecai did in discovering a plot against the life of the king was recorded, because the mention of it will again occur to his advantage. Long before Haman designed to destroy the Jews, God was planning for their deliverance. God now gives Mordecai an opportunity of doing the king a good turn, that he might have the fairer opportunity afterwards of doing the Jews a good turn. Matthew Henry

The treason was fully proved, and the record of it remarked that Mordecai was the man who discovered the treason. He was not rewarded at that time, but at the most crucial time, the matter was brought to light, and the evil plot of Haman against the Jews came to nothing.  

Up against an obstacle, hindering your progress? Before you reached this point, God was already at work on your behalf, carrying out His plan.

Tenacity is more than endurance, it is endurance combined with the absolute certainty that what we are looking for is going to transpire. Spiritual tenacity is not to hang on and do nothing, but to work deliberately on the certainty that God is not going to be bested. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled. One of the great strains of life is the strain of waiting for God. Oswald Chambers


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Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.


Semi-Finalist - 2021 Royal Palm Literary Award Competition - Florida Writer's Association