When Obstacles Become Part of Your Story

When Obstacles Become Part of Your New and Good Story

Sunday Scripture

When I am serving as a substitute teacher, I’m often intrigued by the books I find sitting on the desktops of the teachers I am helping. Sometimes there is even time for me to skim a chapter or to scan the table of contents and to be inspired. On a middle school math teacher’s desk, I discovered this quote from Marcus Aurelius, the last of the Five Good Emperors of Rome:

What stands in the way becomes the way.”

Marcus wrote this bold statement near the end of a nineteen-year reign (161-180 A.D.) that was characterized by war, plague, intrigue, a coup, continual empire-wide travel, and financial catastrophe. Ironically, those who knew Marcus Aurelius testified that rather than being discouraged by these huge obstacles, he saw them as a path to virtue.

Struggle is a predictable factor in everybody’s story, but we don’t need to take Marcus Aurelius’s word for that. Isaiah, God’s Old Testament prophet wrote about obstacles long before the Roman Empire existed:

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.”

Isaiah 43:2

The word to notice in this verse is when. High waters, raging rivers, and hot fires will be part of our lives as long as we are living on this fallen planet. Obstacles are a given, but they are not the end of the story. If “what stands in the way becomes the way,” our story finds its focus in the sovereignty and the goodness of God. Jesus comes to you with tenderness in the midst of every obstacle saying, “Trust me. Walk with me.”

What is standing in your way today? Are you willing to trust that the One who walks alongside you will faithfully continue with you on this new and good part of your story?

Holding you in the light,

Jesus comes to you with tenderness in the midst of every obstacle saying, “Trust me. Walk with me.”

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62 thoughts on “When Obstacles Become Part of Your New and Good Story”

  1. I am old enough to affirm that God does indeed make himself known and moves in palpably close when circumstances become overwhelming. During one particularly rough patch, I remember feeling as though Jesus was sitting in the front seat beside me on my commute to work each morning. It was a new phenomenon at the time and ministered strength and hope to me. Praise God for his empowering presence! Praise God also for all his blessings that speak love and encouragement. That year of particular challenge I recorded more instances of God’s faithfulness (in a looseleaf journal for just that purpose) than I had during any of the previous 26 years since starting that notebook! Praise God for being so attentive, caring, and gracious to us!

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    1. I’ve been in the same position of really needing to know God was close–and sure enough, he ministered to me in that way. That was fuel to carry me through the times when his presence was less palpable. Faithful is WHO HE IS, and I’m grateful (as you have stated so well!) for the years we have lived and the lessons we have gleaned that remind us that he can be trusted today.

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  2. God’s “withness” has been on my mind much lately. That God is with me in every situation, every moment, and promises to never leave me is such a beautiful truth.

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  3. I had noticed that “when” instead of “if.” I used to lament and chafe under trials until I noticed that–and still do sometimes. But I am trying to keep in mind God allows them for our good. And He is always with us, no matter what.

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  4. I love that he promises to be WITH us, to walk WITH us through those hard experiences. And it’s not IF we walk through fire, it’s WHEN. So I shouldn’t be surprised when I feel a bit of heat. I just need to listen for his voice and trust him. Easier said than done, but oh, what a precious promise!

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  5. Thanks for the reminder that obstacles happen and should be expected. God isn’t surprised by them and He has bountiful grace to share with us in those encounters we didn’t foresee. That He never changes has become a wonderful balm and a deep hope for me in the past year.

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  6. My children want life to be without obstacles, but they are there everyday, in some way or another. Some are big, and some are smaller. I consider this pandemic a big obstacle.

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  7. Love the quote and He will be with always.
    By the way my name is Crystal and I share a blog with my Cat Daisy Mae. Hope you visit and possibly follow.
    I come from Esme’s Senior Salon.
    I like your blog post.

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  8. One word makes all the difference. It is not “if,” which would lead us to think we can out fate obstacles or control them. The word is “when.” It’s just a matter of time. But have no fear, because he is with us each step of the way. And so we have hope. A guide. Someone on our side.

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  9. Dear Michele, thank you for the encouragement and the insight of the Romans. The passage from Isaiah is one of my favs. Thirty-nine years ago, Mama understood that life is about “when” not “if”, when she told me that in life (when trials come) sometimes you just have to stand there and take it, and there’s mercy, grace, and peace, we don’t have to stand alone. Thanks and blessings for the reminder, Michele!

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  10. It does help to remember that trials and challenges are a normal part of life. It reminds me of Jesus’ words: “In this world you will have trouble.” Again it reminds us that it’s not just a possibility but the reality of living in a broken world. But it’s so comforting to know that he walks with us.

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  11. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. We appreciate your shares. They have been Tweeted Pinned. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn

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  12. I love to hear stories about your substitute teaching. It takes me back to my days in the classroom! Obstacles will be part of all of our lives. I think it is good to keep Christ’s words “not as the world gives do I give to you” in our hearts.

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  13. Michele, this is such a good, timely post. I’ve definitely faced obstacles this month and this year. And the beautiful thing is God makes His presence known through every moment of walking through them.

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  14. Michele, reading this post was so encouraging to me as I shared this very verse yesterday. So good to be reminded obstacles are not the end of our story. In fact, they may just be the beginning for through Jesus, we will prevail (my One Word for 2021). 🙂

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  15. Michele, thank you for an encouraging post! We don’t like to think of facing trials and suffering, but God did not promise us a life free from these things. What He did promise was His presence in and through them!

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  16. We can’t appreciate our health until we are ill, and in the same way we can’t appreciate the peace in our souls until it faces adversity. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories

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  17. Standing is my barrier right now ;). I had ankle surgery on Wednesday, and I’m learning to follow the doctor’s orders (keep my foot elevated). If I don’t, I experience more pain than I want to. I’m learning to do what the expert says, even if I don’t want to.

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  18. What a beautiful verse of reassurance and love. Like many of your readers here, it is a timely reminder for me. So thank you for being the messenger to bring this to our attention.
    We hope to encourage others by featuring your post on the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Kathleen

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