When You’re Faced With an Overwhelming Obstacle

overwhelming obstacle

Are you facing an overwhelming obstacle and you’re at your wits end? Maybe debt is circling around you and you can’t see a way out; all you see is how it’s about to cave in and crush you. Or maybe you’ve got a health issue the doctors can’t solve, and you’re so tired of being sick and tired.

Whatever your obstacle is, no matter how hard you try to fix it or figure it out, you can’t. You just can’t.

You’re stuck.

It’s an uncomfortable place to be, isn’t it? Feeling helpless. Feeling as if you have no control in the matter. It’s as if you’re waiting for a strong wind to knock you over. At least then, you begin to think, I can get a break.

But what if I told you this is a good place to be?

That’s right. When you are completely helpless and you’re facing a situation that you simply can’t fix, there is only one thing to do.

Cry out to God. Cry out in your faith.

Think about it. If you just escaped a terrible situation and there were some awfully cruel people chasing you to bring you back and suddenly you found yourself stuck as they closed in behind you and before you, lots and lots of water, what would you do?

Another scenario to think about:

What if you were facing an enormous, monstrous man dressed in armor (armor that probably weighs more than you!) who wants to squash you, your family and friends, and your way of life? What would you do?

Would you, like Moses and David, cry out to God and declare your faith in Him? Would you brace yourself for God to move on your behalf?

Would you stand back in awe as water lifted from its place and formed walls on both sides of you, the ground becoming dry so you and everyone with you could walk safely across?

Would you run to the battle line, reaching for a stone and knowing in your heart and in your gut that God Almighty would never let you down? Would you remember how He helped you in the past?

What obstacle are you facing? What is impossible for you today?

Cry out to God in your faith and brace yourself for the impossible to take place.

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14 NIV.)

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (Exodus 14:21-22 NIV.)

“And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’” (1 Samuel 17:37a ESV.)

“David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.’” (1 Samuel 17:45 NIV.)

“And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:47 NLT.)

“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.” (1 Samuel 17 48-49 NIV.)

“For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37 NLT.)

A Pebble in the Trench


When I was a little girl, I loved playing in mud puddles after a hard rain.  There was nothing like the squishy, oozing feeling between my fingers and against the palm of my hand, the way the cold mud would encase my hand like a glove when I pressed it down as far as it would go, and the sucking sound when I pulled it free.  And I loved making a little trench between two mud puddles, watching the water flow and then adding pebbles to steer it where I wanted it to go.

God steers us in a similar way.  He’s not a puppet master, forcing us to do this and that, nor is He waiting with a lightning bolt to zap us when we make a mistake; thank goodness for that or I’d be so electrified I could light up the night sky for miles around.  But God loves us enough to steer us away from danger and to the life He has waiting for us.

So if you’re sailing along from one mud puddle in the hopes of reaching the next and you see a big fat obstacle blocking your dream or goal, maybe God set up that pebble in the trench so you’ll wait on Him to make another way to get there.  Perhaps He’s protecting you from danger or maybe the timing isn’t right.  Or maybe He has something different, something better for you altogether.

So what do you do when you’re face to face with the pebble blocking your way?

You wait.  And while you’re waiting, God is working.  (You may not see what He’s up to, but He’s always working.)

But maybe you don’t want to wait.  Maybe you think waiting is a waste of time.  Well, you can always abandon ship and walk around to get where you want to go.  Just don’t be too surprised if your feet get stuck in the mud. Really stuck.  Then you’ll be cold, wet, and tired from trying to pull your feet out.  Only you won’t be able to so you’ll be forced to stand there in the mud that is now up to your knees as you wait on God.

Or maybe you like the idea of moving that pebble.  Ha!  Did I mention that in God’s hands it IS a pebble, but in yours, it’s more like a boulder or the moon?  Good luck.  Hope you don’t throw out your back.  But if you do, you can just rest your hand on that boulder and wait until you can stand upright.

Again, the waiting!

So it seems instead of getting stuck and wearing yourself out by hoofing it in your impatience, or instead of hurting yourself by trying to do the impossible, you can trust God when He uses a pebble (or in your case, a boulder) to block your path.  He knows what He’s doing.

Then finally after all of your waiting (which could be mere hours or many years), God shows you another way.  He’s been busy making a new trench, a new stream that flows easily down and into this amazing pool of fresh water; no more dirty water!  And here, the sun reflects off of the water like a thousand sparkling diamonds and there are enough cool breezes to help you catch your breath.  You close your eyes and thank God for putting a pebble in your trench and forming a new stream that led you to this place where you know you are about to do what you were created to do alongside the One who created you for such a time and place.

“Trust God from the bottom of our heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Don’t assume that you know it all.” (Proverbs 3:5-7a The Message.)

Guilt or Love?


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I allow guilt to tag along and even climb up on my back. (Keep in mind, guilt is not the same thing as conviction where we’re definitely going against God’s will, and He’s letting us know about it.)

Guilt is like this monster with jagged teeth crunching when it whispers in my ear, insisting I’m doing it all wrong and reminding me how I’ve failed so many people. And every time I listen to it, it’s like it’s feeding off of me, getting heavier as my soul starves and I lose more of myself.

I’m pretty tired of it. I’m pretty tired of worrying about what other people think and the guilt that I’m letting someone down no matter what I’m doing.  I’m tired of trying to live up to other people’s expectations of what my life should look like.  I’m tired, tired, tired.

Am I the only one who feels this way? I don’t think I am or God wouldn’t have brought this up to me when I prayed and asked Him what He wanted this post to be about.  So let me ask you:  Are you hauling around the same guilt monster who’s getting bigger and bigger and you’re wondering how long you can last under its weight, wondering how long before it crushes you completely?  What in the world are we supposed to do?  I’ve been praying…

We stop focusing on people and really fix our eyes on God. It sounds easy.  It makes sense.  But doing it is a whole other thing.  That means when someone asks and maybe even expects you to do something, you go to God first and ask Him what you should do.  If He says, “Yes,” then go ahead.  But if He says, “No” or you don’t have any peace about it, then respectfully decline.  Be very clear that you are honestly trying to follow God’s plan for your life.  If people get mad at you for that, pray for them.  They’re probably hauling around the guilt monster’s cousin, overload.

Let me be clear. I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t serve and help others.  We absolutely should!  But if we are motivated by guilt and not love, are we really serving others or are we just trying to outrun the monster?

How can you tell if you’re motivated by love or guilt? Are you praying and asking God to lead you in all you do or are you so worried about letting others down that you run ahead of Him and agree to things without waiting on Him for an answer?

Here’s an example He showed me: If you were to give someone flowers out of guilt, the flowers may as well be dead.  There’s no love, only obligation as if you were saying, “Here.  I did this for you.  You’re welcome,” as you walk away feeling relieved.

But if you’re serving out of love it would be like picking flowers for someone because you saw something beautiful you wanted to share with that person. There’s excitement and joy in giving those flowers.  There is no guilt involved, only love for that person.  (Monster?  What monster?  Love is the antidote that makes it shrivel up and fall right off your back!)

And we shouldn’t feel guilt when we seek God and refuse to be sucked into the people-pleasing centrifuge. You know, where you’re stuck against the wall and you can’t move or do anything new, not even what God has gifted or called you to do.  You’re stuck doing the same thing or stuck doing all the things other people bring to you to do.  What about what God wants you to do?  There will be no time for that.  You’ll be too busy focusing on the crowd around you, their demands, and their wants while God waits.  Maybe the world is waiting too.  Waiting for you to show up and be who God created you to be, and who we all need you to be.

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”  (Galatians 1:10 NLT.)