When my friend and I were shopping at our regular grocery store today, we encountered an obstacle. Every week, we enter the store and head directly into the produce section. We shop at the first part of that section, and then cut through an opening over to the bakery to pick up a donut, then come right back through that opening to proceed with the rest of the produce section and go on from there.
This morning, our opening was gone. Walled up. The store built a wall section and installed some display equipment in that space, in effect sealing up the opening and eliminating our pathway.
My OCD self was infuriated. For a while I was stuck in the first phase of grief – denial. No, this cannot be closed, we need to get through this space. There has to be a way. They cannot do this. The donuts seemed a world away.
We ended up going around that whole section, which in actuality wasn’t that far, but it seemed like an endless trek compared to our previous short-cut. I was miffed about this change the entire rest of the way through the store, hence, grief stage 2 – anger.
But now, after some time has passed, I wonder if there is not an important lesson to be learned in this trivial story.
I am not in control of the store setup. The manager does not need my permission to change things. Just like most things in life. A criminal can strike when you least expect it. The company can lay people off without warning. A loved one can die. Even in ministry – a church can decide we cannot lead that class.
Some obstacles we can see coming, some hit us suddenly, but everyone experiences road blocks of different kinds. Sometimes it seems that so many things are outside our control – including our own emotions at times.
The question becomes – what do we do then? How do we react when our plans are not going to work out as we had hoped?
1. We can sit and stew about it. We could get lost in anger and resentment, but who wins?
2. We can try to change it. For most people, this rarely works because our power is limited.
3. We can trust God. He has ultimimate authority. Nothing on this planet happens without His consent. The Bible says that not even the gates of hell will prevail against His efforts.
If God wanted that short-cut to the bakery left there, no construction crew on earth could change it. No one can ever usurp His authority.
So, if you find yourself facing an obstacle, in life, in work, in ministry, or in relationships, it must be there because God caused or allowed it. And if God allowed that road block, that must mean He has another plan for you. He knows the plans He has for us, our job is to cling to Him so tightly and attentively so we cannot help but walk where He wants us to be.
Seek Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and watch the new path clear.