Obstruction, Frustration, Celebration
With a acknowledgements to Scott and Shari Norvell
When I was in the army the least favourite part of training beside the 5 am morning runs were obstacle courses! Although hated they toughened us up and caused us to become good soldiers .The more difficult the obstacle the more ingenious we had to be despite our exhaustion. They were and continue to be an effective form of training in armies around the world.
In our walk with God we also come across obstcles –especially, it seems, from ‘family’ and fellow Christians .We may see them ,correctly or not, as having a ‘way’ for us to move forward by opening a door or providing us what we need. They become obstacles to our perceived way forward yet they don’t give it! It is a story of legitimate or illegitimate expectations –the cause of much offense! Ask any married couple about this! Or Christians who are wealthy or have authority in strategic places!
Numbers 20:21 Edom blocks Israel’s passage to the Promised Land and they have to go around (Edomite’s are brothers of Israel but don’t trust each other because of Jacob and Esau).
They were actually denying the Israelites from receiving the fullness of their covenant promise. Talk about being an obstacle.They would not let them use the road through their country and caused the Israelites to make a huge detour and greatly delayed their arrival into the promised land.
The Edomite’s who were the brothers of the Israelites and descendants of Esau (He chose a meal over his inheritance.) choose their own justice and out of distrust for their brothers they became an obstruction for the Israelites to easily receive their inheritance) .
When we distrust or seek ‘passage’ from someone we can take offense and become like the Edomites when we seek anger and self-justice and not love. We deny inheritances to others and thus can lose our inheritance when we don’t choose Him and love and intimacy.
An obstruction is the thing that impedes and prevents passage, progress. It is an obstacle or blockage. We ourselves must not be an obstruction to others who we love because of our own hurts, lack of vision or just plain uncaring ,’non loving’ attitude.
When we choose love and start fighting against our own self will and embrace His rest and His love, we will receive our inheritance.
The Edomite covenant was intimacy but their condition was idolatry let us be aware of this at work in our own lives especially towards our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Which leads to what we can cause on others’ lives-frustration?
What feelings run through you when frustrated? Need to reflect on what we actually feel in our emotions when we get frustrated.
What can cause you to feel this way? Most often it is a feeling of powerlessness when someone withholds something from us –like the software we are using that holds the key to eternal happiness if only we can get it to work on our computer!
There’s a cycle Hope- Expectation -Sense of slipping then total hopelessness .This leads us to feel like we failed God and ourselves and so we then we say to ourselves that we must do SOMETHING .
It’s one thing to suffer for doing wrong but something else entirely to suffer for doing right. But it happens. And when the storm bursts, it washes away the naive assumption that if I do right, I will never suffer.
Just ask the faithful couple whose crib is empty and whose womb is barren.
Just ask the businessman whose honest work was rewarded with runaway inflation.
Just ask the student who boldly took a stand for the truth and got mocked by his peers,
The Sunday school teacher who took a class and got tired and gave up,
The husband who took a chance and forgave his wife, only to be betrayed again.
The wife whose husband spent the food money on drinks with his friends.
Mark tells us that during the storm Jesus “saw His followers struggling” (Mark 6:48). Through the night He saw them. Through the storm He saw them. And like a loving father He waited. He waited until the right time, until the right moment. He waited until He knew it was time to come, and then He came.
What made it the right time? I don’t know. Why was the ninth hour better than the fourth or fifth? I can’t answer that. Why does God wait until the money is gone? Why does He wait until the sickness has lingered? Why does He choose to wait until the other side of the grave to answer the prayers for healing?
I don’t know. I only know His timing is always right. I can only say He will do what is best.
God will always give what is right to His people who cry to Him night and day, and He will not be slow to answer them. — Luke 18:7
Descriptions on the meaning of Frustration :
“What you are under the influence of”
“Frustration keeps the arrival of what was intended at bay”
If we are feeling frustrated we have to ask ourselves why?
Hebrew for frustration is to break, make void, to bring to nothing. It also means to displace.
To frustrate the enemy is a good thing but when we are frustrated it makes us angry.
If we act out of frustration we can thus displace the plan of Papa.We also loose our ability to see and thus a vision turns to tunnel vision-the last thin you need when solving problems!
Frustration is also a form of lust! Once you have NOT gotten what you want you go and get it for yourself. You cannot wait on Papa because surely He would understand that I need it now? You want things sooner, quicker. If you do this you will make His plan void in your life.
When the Israelite spies came back from the Promised Land, ten of them instilled fear and doubts into the people with their reports about the giants. By so doing they frustrated His plan for the people to enter their inheritance at the designated time.
When we are frustrated and filled with doubt we withhold our trust in God. We let what we see in the natural rob us of our courage and ability to walk through what he has set before us. To trust even though it seems different to what we envisaged.
It is actually our plan that frustrates us -how do we get the stew, the thing that fills our hearts? (Instant gratification)
We avoid moving forward and thus remove we ourselves from Him and avoid Him. We May still be Christians but in our heart we stop trusting and push in for our will done, our way. We then begin to focus on others and they become our obstacles to fulfill our plans and this person(s) becomes source of our frustration. We start going around the obstruction and end up delaying or losing our inheritance.
In looking for solutions, we want speed and He wants to give us power. He also wants to strengthen us in the wait. In that time there is some much that He may want to strengthen us for .In so doing we will miss the fullness of His plan as well as the fullness of each other.
The key to overcoming frustration is forgiving others when we see something outside of His plan or His best. We must not become an obstruction to each other. We need to trust Papa to take His plan all the way through to completion. His way is always best. If we have a need for vengeance, to go to war to get justice our way (which Frustration causes us to do) because others have a different view to us will prevent the fullness of restoration His way in His time.
I can say now that my kids made it through studies but there were times as parents we just had to stand back because you knew that in the struggle they could do it. The urge to step in and take over was huge yet only now do we get to see the fruit.
When it’s dark and it’s Saturday and not Sunday, when it’s the 8th hour not the ninth,then all you can do is turn your eyes heavenward and declare that He is the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. Just declare His goodness and praise Him.
Vital keys here are Celebration of all that IS good about him and being able Rest to in Him.
Sally McClung story(served God for many years but have both been struck down in the senior years with sickness):
“During these quiet days for me, the Lord has impressed upon me how important it is to keep joy alive in my heart. His joy is my strength! I can’t allow circumstances to drag me down. Hard things come, but I can maintain joy in the midst of the hard things and hard times.
I’ve been reminded that I can’t have joy unless I’m thankful, so worship and gratitude need to be a vital part of my daily life. In fact, I need to build a “grid of gratitude” through which I view everything else in life! When I’m thankful, everything else is viewed through a heart of gratitude.
The Lord has also reminded me to be careful in my speech. If I’m speaking all the time of the hard things, that impacts my heart. I certainly need to be open, be real, be honest – but I need to be careful to not allow my heart to dwell on the negative things. I must balance it with gratitude for the good things in my life……of which there are MANY even on the hardest days!”
In the same way I guard my speech, I must also guard my thoughts
I’ve also felt Him speaking to me to LOOK for the blessings He has brought into each day.
These principles about joy are not new to me, but they are certainly helpful reminders as I navigate our unexpected journey. Joy and sorrow/hardness can be intermingled – it’s not a dichotomy. He has faithfully provided for my every need. He has given me joy for the journey.
As Sally choose to live by these scriptures ,take heart from her testimaoney that although bad things happen ot good people you can choose to celebrate who He is.
Scriptures that Sally stands by in troubled times:
“This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
“Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.” Psalm 21:6
“For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2,3
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him.” Romans 15:13
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace……” Galatians 5:22
“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:18,19
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation…..to sustain me.” Psalm 51:12
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
“Come let us sing for joy to the Lord.” Psalm 95:1
As we face the journey of life we are NOT alone. As with Floyd and Sally we do not know how we will end our days. For them this is not the end yet. Each day holds hope and a promise that we will not be tested beyond what we can endure.
Hold forth to the promise that He has given you –even in the darkness He is our light.
Declare His goodness and His love for you.
- Every obstacle an opportunity,
- Every frustration a time to drive us away from anger and allow Him to displace our feeling with promise and hope.
- Every bit of stress an opportunity to learn rest
- Celebrate that your sins are forgiven and that He loves you ALWAYS-that is the least we can do!
Written by Graham Lindsay