Facing Obstacles

Proverbs 22:10-16 says, 10  Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.  11  He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. 12  The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but heoverthrows the words of the traitor.   13   The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!  I shall be killed in the streets!”   14  The mouth offorbidden women is a deep pit;  he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.   15  Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,  but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.   16  Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,  or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

It is true.  Life is full of heartache and hardships.  You can expect obstacles in life.  On the way to work you may find that the highway is under construction and you have to take a detour.  Some obstacles that you will face are more significant.  You may be handicapped causing you to forfeit some of the desires in life you might have had.  You may have recently lost a loved one.  Possibly you are facing economic difficulty.

Jesus F. Contreras, a Mexican sculptor lost his right arm while working on a statue. Besides the pain, expense and inconvenience, this caused him a lot of frustration. But the artist did not give up on his work. Through painstaking effort he learned to carve with his left hand. Finally the day came when he unveiled his beautiful masterpiece.  He had named it ’In Spite Of’.

Booker T. Washington was born in slavery. Thomas Edison was deaf in his left ear and 80% deaf in his right ear.  Beethoven was deaf.  Abraham Lincoln was born of illiterate parents. Lord Byron had a club foot. Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis. Alexander Pope was a hunchback. Admiral Nelson had only one eye. Julius Caesar was an epileptic. Helen Keller was blind and deaf.

All of these individuals faced obstacles but did not let it stop them.  They went on to great success.  As leaders we realize that the best way to overcome a problem is to face it.  It is important that we model this before those who follow our lead, but it is important that we verbalize this to them as well.  

As you lead your people through the obstacle course of life they will also see something else of great advantage if you are a Christ follower.  We take courage from stories of great men and women who have been strong in the face of adversity and yet we have an advantage that many in life have not discovered.  We have a God whose grace is sufficient for every circumstance.  We have a God who will never leave us when we face the obstacles of life.  He will never forsake us when others give up and leave us to face the hardships of life alone.

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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