What is the difference between obstacles and opportunities? The difference is usually determined by our attitudes and/or responses. So can we truly see obstacles as opportunities? If so, how is it possible? And why would I be asking? The first reason is to help and encourage you. And the second reason is the obstacles and opportunities I am facing! So maybe this can be an opportunity for us to encourage each other…
Obstacles And Opportunities – Point of View
There are motivational speakers who make a very good living having this discussion with business leaders. I can agree that leaders in all arenas ought to have a problem-solving mindset. But I don’t see guarantees there. Business obstacles might remain. But when and where are obstacles guaranteed to be opportunities?
The Christian life is one of paradox! You know some of them:
- Lose your life to find it
- To be the greatest, be the servant of all
- God’s leaders are great followers
We often quote God’s obstacle-conquering promise but fail to apply it to our own challenges:
I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.
All things would certainly include facing and overcoming the obstacles before us. But the added element is divine strength. That promise is not available to the world of business. It’s only offered to those who have surrendered their lives to Christ. And we know the Word of God cannot fail and has never failed. So there’s a guarantee of turning our obstacles into opportunities. However, God is not obligated to supply an opportunity that meets our expectations or definitions!
Obstacles And Opportunities – History
Events in the life of Moses will demonstrate obstacles disguised as opportunities. One obstacle in Moses’ life was named Pharaoh. The most powerful political figure of that day opposed Moses. But Moses was on the Lord’s side! And ten plagues later, Moses left Egypt just like God said he would.
Obstacles aren’t always overcome quickly. But that is no problem for our Father. Pharaoh decided he made a mistake in letting Moses and the Israelites leave Egypt. So he sent his army after Moses. You know what happened. Moses saw an ‘obstacle’ in front of him. At least that’s how the Red Sea must have appeared in front of him as he looked at Pharaoh’s army behind him. Again, it was no problem for the Great I Am to give His children the opportunity to walk on a dry seabed!
And the same God that did all that has made promises to us our about the obstacles we face today!
Obstacles And Opportunities – Today
Our obstacles are the same ones Moses faced! Really? Yes! The names and places change. But the central truth transcends time. When we follow in faith and seek our Father’s glory then He will honor Himself in the most unusual and unexpected ways. So what obstacles are you and I facing? What do we do about them?
I can list my ‘obstacles’ and you can list yours. Principles for addressing them are the same.
The Holiday Season
Each year-end is something of an obstacle, but it is simultaneously an opportunity. The task is year-end giving. The challenge is time and a season filled with many extra activities for everyone. And then if we add a mission trip to that mix, like we have at the end of this month, the demands can seem overwhelming. I tend to look at all there is to do and see an obstacle. But my obstacle is God’s opportunity to say: I got this!
That’s how I felt earlier today when I opened my email. What I saw was a notification of an online donation. Most of the time, I know a donation is coming. Every now and then, I get a surprise. And that email was two things:
- God’s reminder that He is in charge, not worried, and not overwhelmed
- A big surprise to me, and a reminder that our Father is never surprised
Obstacles are our opportunities to exercise faith. And that lesson seems to come around with great regularity!
All the work to establish a new ministry organization contains obstacles and opportunities. But even so, a wonderful truth has been demonstrated once again. God doesn’t call us to serve Him by ourselves. We serve Him in and through His family. And that reality has been on full display in setting up EquipUs. It is a cause for comfort, joy, and peace. Hmmm. Sounds familiar this season! The comfort is knowing we aren’t alone, the joy is seeing so many join in to help, and the peace is in knowing our Father is really the One in charge. And I will submit that also applies to whatever you see as an obstacle!
And a thought about helping came in a conversation I also had today with a pastor-friend. He wasn’t fully up to speed on all the changes we have seen this Fall. That was part of the reason I called him. But his immediate response to what he learned was to tell me how he planned to share the news with his congregation and others. That’s huge. Sharing news and needs is so much more important that most people realize. And the few seconds it takes to share a blog post in email or on social media may lead others to engage in ways we never imagined.
Our November mission team did several things. ONE was to prep for next year and beyond. We identified potential mission projects, got reliable cost estimates on those projects, and laid out a plan/guidelines to work with churches on the mission field to complete those mission projects. Selected projects will appear soon on the EquipUs website along with proposed mission trip dates, etc.
And speaking of the website… Had we known this past January what we learned in establishing EquipUs then a good deal of time and money could have been saved. Details not necessary here, just look for changes and be aware that all things related to EquipUs will appear on its dedicated site. The Keith Burnett site will also continue but the two are not, and will not be, the same. There are good reasons for that, but not here and not today. But as always, prayers are in order!
There is something on this page you can do. What is it? I don’t know. The best thing I could suggest is take this image to heart. Helping Hands is a constant theme because they pray, donate, volunteer, encourage, and equip. None of us can do it all. But each of us can do something. Engage. Have faith. Seek the Father’s glory. When we do that we will see great things in obstacles and opportunities!