Isaiah and Jesus describe some of the things that can get in the way with our relationship with God; however, when we put the Lord first we find that everything else is empowered in its proper place.
Tag Archives: Obstacles
Christ’s invitation to come to Him in our weariness and labor reveals a compassion that has no limit or boundary. May we remove the obstacles that keep us from His grace!
Suffering, for all its challenges and burdens, is a part of human life. How do we face it? How do we find the strength and wisdom to keep going? When we bring our faith in Jesus Christ into the center of our lives we find the courage and conviction to continue on as the Lord guides us through this life to the life to come.
Terrified by a violent storm, the disciples call out to Jesus who immediately calms it. Storms are a part of life, and whether physical, emotional, psychological, relational or spiritual we find in the Lord a peaceful strength to face them with confidence and conviction.
Study: Reflect on key relationships in your life. Are there any obstacles that are keeping you from fully connecting with others?
Pray: Invite the Lord to help you strengthen your spiritual life today. Ask for guidance and wisdom to see clearly the path before you.
Serve: How can you help someone in your life right now? How can your life bring support and encouragement to another in need?
Have you ever watched the construction of a new road? The big kid in me loves watching the earth movers and dump trucks, as graders and front loaders transform the landscape. The study, planning, design, coordination, and work are immense – and the heavier the traffic the greater the effort to insure that the road will be able to bear the load.
While there are many key issues that surface in the construction of a road, I would like to point out two elements:
- What are the obstacles that need to be cleared away?
- What materials need to be added for strength?
Obstacles can be unwanted elevation, swamps, trees, or any objects that are in the way. They sometimes require enormous effort to remove them in order to create a smooth, level surface. The work here is all about taking something away so that the road will be easy to use.
Often, however, there is a significant amount of material that needs to be added – to improve foundation, provide drainage or perhaps fill in gaps. Removing the obstacle is not sufficient; material and supplies must be added to make the road strong and durable, so it can be used safely for a long time.
In the Gospel today John the Baptist quotes Isaiah to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:4-6
This is serious work…for the human heart. Heavy equipment and intense work are required to transform the landscape of our souls – preparing the highway that allows us to receive Jesus Christ. And like above we have to ask: What obstacles need to be removed? What material needs to be added?
Is there something keeping us from the Lord and one another? Time to get rid of it! Does a relationship require attention and support to strengthen it? Time to get to work!
May the words of John inspire us today, removing obstacles and strengthening our souls, so that the Lord will find us ready and prepared to journey with him today.
Study: When in my life did I hit a “wall” – an obstacle that seriously affected my life?
Pray: Call upon the Lord for the wisdom and courage to face the challenges before us.
Serve: Who in my life can I encourage to continue?
I have a lot of respect for marathon athletes. The sport of running is grueling in both physical and mental ways, demanding discipline, dedication, and concentration. Running is hard work, and those athletes who embrace the sport demonstrate their willingness to accept a difficult challenge.
While many runners work out with a partner or a group, running is ultimately an individual sport. Whereas a team sport allows a person to have a poor performance and still win, a runner who breaks down is lost. The energy, stamina, and focus must come from each runner, or the race will not be completed.
Runners often talk about the “Wall.” At some point (usually toward the end of the race) the body revolts. Concentration is lost, breathing is labored, and the legs feel like they are made of lead. To the runner it seems almost impossible to continue, and for a time it is only by sheer will, as one foot is forced ahead of the other, that the runner goes on.
Where do runners get this kind of strength? Where do they find the energy and determination? Every runner is different, yet every one relies on some kind of conviction or encouragement to continue. This focus – to finish running the race – gives them the power to see it through.
“Running the Race” has much to tell us about the journey all of us encounter in our lives. For we know that there are times when we encounter our own personal wall, that obstacle, event, or sin which drains our strength and concentration. At these moments we can feel exhausted – beyond help, guidance, or the desire to continue.
The letter to the Hebrews reminds us that at these times we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the source and center of our faith. It is the Lord’s example which gives us the hope we need to face the challenges and obstacles of any given day. By ourselves we can stumble and fall to temptation and sin, but with the strength of Christ we continue, finding new life where we thought there was none.
Running a race IS hard work; the same is true for life. We know that the journey is not easy. Yet we know that through our faith in Jesus we have a source of strength that will not abandon us. The Lord is near, inviting us to continue and finish the journey, inspired by the example of Christ.