Throughout our life, we encounter things that challenge us. These situations or events set us back, hurt us, or get in our way. We need to plan for these inevitable obstacles that we encounter on our Christian Journey. Since this post has grown so large, I will be splitting this up into three parts all including the same introduction.
If you read part one: Skip down to next obstacle
In this series, I’ve talked about the different parts of a journey, our Christian Journey. First we prepare for the journey. Then we make sure we have the essential items to bring with us. After bringing the essentials we also have to develop skills and gain knowledge. Now we have to use all of that to deal with anything that threatens to stop our progress, throw us from the path, or push us back.
On the Christian Journey there are many things that can impact our Journey in a bad way. Much like any trip, things happen that could prevent us from reaching our destination, slow us down, or turn us around. These events and situations challenge our knowledge and experience. We are tested continuously and we have to find a way to keep progressing forward and stay on the path Jesus has walked and described for us.
In the preparation post I made the analogy of our Christian Journey being like walking through a jungle, with the same abundance of dangers and with a difficult to see path to follow. The reason I believe this analogy to be accurate is because walking the Christian path requires careful and continuous study of the Word of God. If you walk in the woods where nature is allowed to grow wildly, you can sometimes find yourself wondering where the path went. You notice the ground isn’t quite right, there isn’t any obvious signs of the path underneath you. You look around and try to locate that path by searching for those signs.
This is the same thing we must do when we find ourselves off of the path on our Christian Journey. It goes back to the preparation post where I said willingness to change is how we can best prepare for our journey. When we go off track, it is usually because we made choices that put us off track. We have to be willing to accept those choices were mistakes and be willing to change course to locate the path and return to it.
With that said, what are some of the things that could affect us on our Christian Journey?
Sin has plagued our life with tragedy. Some of us will experience drug addiction, alcoholism, addiction to things of a sexual nature, addiction to materials, criminal-mindedness, and more. I am talking about being touched by sin. Much like a branding iron leaves a mark, the sins of others leaves a mark on us. We have emotional and physical scarring. When the innocent is scarred, it is always a tragic event.
Outside of sin, there are other things that happen because of sin. I don’t believe anyone would have to fear natural disasters if Adam and Eve didn’t act against God and get banished from Eden.
Family and friends die to circumstances that are the fault of no living person. Sometimes their body just gives out, sometimes its a natural disaster, and sometimes a car accident in which everyone involved did nothing wrong.
Tragedy will hit all of us, and there is a tendency to blame God. We look at God as all powerful and all knowing. Perhaps he does know what we will do, or maybe he knows what we are likely to do. I have a problem believing God wants us to freely choose to believe in him and to love him, and also we have no ability to surprise him. In fact, I believe several have surprised him.
For example, King Solomon asked for discernment between right and wrong and not wealth and the death of his enemies. God’s response suggested that he would expect someone in Solomon’s situation to ask for these things, but he did not.
There was also this:
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
How can Jesus be amazed without being surprised?
I don’t dare believe that I know God’s plan or claim to know it and what he is actively doing in our lives. Having said that, I do not believe it is part of God’s plan for us to go through misery, for us to be inflicted with disease, be born with disabilities, or to be emotionally damaged by others. Sin being in the world and being introduced by Adam and Eve is what lead to these things.
God wants us to get through these tragedies. He wants us to look to him for help and direction. He wants us to pray for peace and comfort when we are hurt. He wants us to pray for understanding when we are confused. He wants us to pray for direction when we are lost. He wants us to get by any obstacle we encounter on our Christian Journey.
People usually ask for what they want, but God gives us what we need. Sometimes what we want and what we need align, but a lot of the time it does not. If we ask for help, God will provide what we need in order to get us through our circumstances. We don’t know what we need, but God does.
31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
We do the same thing to our children. When our children are hungry and want ice cream for dinner, we give them what they need instead. When our children want to play with something dangerous, we give them something safe to play with instead. We still fulfill the need, we just don’t do it exactly as our children ask for it.
God doesn’t want us to suffer or to be hurt. When we are in need, we should ask Jesus for help. If we pray for help when we need it God will help us move forward on our Christian Journey.