When God’s Plan Includes Obstacles
Have you ever been doing what you know God called you to but still face obstacles? You’re in school pursuing the degree you know you were meant to do but it seems like at every turn, you hit a roadblock. Well my friends, you are not alone.
Growing older has made me appreciate my childhood. I had no cares in the world. I did not need to earn money to pay my rent, buy or cook food, put fuel in my car or other necessities. Those things somehow just appeared/happened. It was so magical! But now I know better – thanks Mom & Dad!
In a previous post, I talked about growth and why it’s necessary. Growth is part of life without which we die (physically and/or otherwise). However, even with growth, there are obstacles.
The story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt has been on my mind a lot lately. There are a lot of lessons to learn from their story. While in Egypt, they were slaves (Exodus 1). They were ill-treated but still flourished in number to the dismay of their slave masters. Their slavery and subsequent deliverance were foretold to Abraham (Genesis 15:13-14; Acts 7:6-7). When Moses showed up in Egypt with a message from God saying he had come to take them out of slavery, Pharaoh objected. We’re not told how long Moses and Pharaoh went back and forth but we know Pharaoh finally let them leave Egypt after ten plagues (Exodus Chapter 3-13) – Pharaoh was the obstacle here in God’s plan.
Take a second to picture the joy and excitement in the faces of the people as they packed up to leave free at last. I can almost hear the women humming to the rhythm of their movements (Exodus 3:21; 12:35-36). They hurriedly ate the Passover meal and everything was going great till they actually started leaving Egypt.
Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him... And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?” Exodus 14: 5-11.
Before we are quick to condemn the Israelites, let’s put their plight in perspective. They had been slaves all their lives and been tortured by the Egyptian slave masters. Some of them probably bore scars from wounds they received when they disobeyed or tried to rebel. if you were in the camp, you too would probably be afraid. Another obstacle in their way. However, because their deliverance was part of God’s plan, He stepped in. Let’s read on:
But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. (Exodus 14:16-18, NKJV).
The Israelites were delivered and finally, the Israelites were totally free. Pharaoh and his army were drowned in the sea. But the story did not end when they left Egypt. They needed to travel through the wilderness to the Promised Land, a journey that spanned over forty years and recorded in 4.5 books & 146 chapters. They also fought numerous battles to conquer the land promised to them.
4 lessons we can learn from this story are:
Even in God’s will, you will face obstacles.
God had promised Abraham decades ago that He would rescue the Israelites from slavery. God clearly sent Moses in Exodus 3 to deliver the Israelites from captivity but it wasn’t an easy task. After conquering Pharaoh, the journey through the wilderness presented its own obstacles. Similarly, you and I, in our walk on earth will face obstacles even when we are in God’s plan.
The process may take longer than you anticipated.
The obstacles create setbacks that make the journey longer. After Moses returned to Egypt to free the people, it took a while before he was successful. He didn’t quit and return to Midian without the Israelites. He stayed till the mission was complete. Don’t quit on the journey because you face obstacles, it is in overcoming the obstacles that we experience God’s supernatural power.
If you don’t learn the lesson or pass the test, you’ll keep repeating it till you do.
When the Israelites overcame an obstacles, they learned to trust God and it prepared them for a greater obstacle. The concept is the same when you play video games. You cannot get to level 2 without first passing level 1. Also, you cannot get to level 3 if you don’t pass levels 1 and 2. When you fail a level, you are given chances to redo it until you pass. There are tricks, tips and other things you learn in level 1 that will help you in level 2; level 1 & 2 for level 3 and so on. Similarly in life, there is no advancement without passing and learning from the current one.
God will be with you every step of the way
As the Israelites journeyed through the wilderness, “the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night” (Exodus 13:21, Deuteronomy 1:32-33). And just in case they forgot, like we do sometimes, God repeats this promise to us a few more times (Deut. 31:6, 8; Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5). No matter the obstacles, God will always be with you.
A wise woman once said, “Things will always take longer, be much harder and cost more than you expect.” Dear friends, let’s be prepared for the obstacles life throws at us, equipped to stay the course in obedience to God and relying on Him to move us from Egypt to the Promised Land knowing He is always with us.