But not too long ago, my wife and I got into an accident; and in my quiet moments after that incident, when I began to replay and reflect on the series of events that led up to that accident, I realized that had I been hogged, had there been an extra red light, had there been heavy traffic that day, I might not have had that accident. And that made me realize, maybe road hogs aren’t such bad people after all.
You know, this reminds me of the time our Father led Israel out of Egypt. Some Bible scholars agree that the usual time it took to travel from Egypt to Canaan was about 11 days. But instead of taking that route, our Father led them on a route that took 40 years. And this is not conjecture. God Himself confirms and admits to this in Exodus.
“Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near;…” Exodus 13:17
Instead, “…God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.” Exodus 13:18
Had your GPS led you on a roundabout way, instead of leading you by the way that was nearer, what would you do to it? If there was a road block ahead of you that made you have to make a detour from your familiar route, what would you say?
Yet, did it to Israel, our Father did, and this was the reason why.
“…for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”” Exodus 13:17
‘Lest the people change their minds when they see war’; and now that we have the benefit of hindsight, we don’t blame Him for making such a decision, do we? The Bible is replete with examples of Israel grumbling over the slightest things when they were in the wilderness.
For example, when they were caught between Pharaoh and the deep Red Sea,
“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? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”” Exodus 14:11-12
And when they were hungry,
“And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”” Exodus 16:3
And when their water bottles ran dry,
“Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, “Give us water, that we may drink….”” Exodus 17:2
Whiney little brats, weren’t they? Do you blame God for making sure that Israel never encountered war when they walked out of Egypt? I know I don’t.
What about us? Are we whiney little brats too? When things don’t go our way, do we get upset? When our GPS makes us go one mile more, is that one mile too far? When someone hogs the road in front of us, do we get all hot under the collar and throw a hissy fit? I know I do.
But what if there was ‘war’ in front of us, and by delaying us, He prevents us from certain calamity? What if the person we never wanted to see would have crossed our path if not for that slight delay? What if there was a traffic cop up ahead? Wouldn’t you have been caught for speeding if not because that hog made you slow down?
Yet, hogging is the least annoying of our obstacles, isn’t it? Sometimes, the obstacles we face have a far greater impact on our lives; like a bad boss, a scheming colleague or even intangibles, like a bad government, a poor economy, poverty or even disease. Can we still face these obstacles with the same attitude and see that there is a reason for their existence? Well, yes we can. And here is why.
You see, a long time ago, Paul too had his fair share of obstacles. In fact, so annoying was one problem that he called it a thorn in his side.
And “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8
How many times has that happened to you? I know I’ve pleaded with the Lord to remove bosses, powers, principalities and road hogs from my midst, and often, to no avail. But do you know why that is?
“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”…” 2 Corinthians 12:9
When there are obstacles in your life, and especially when these obstacles seem insurmountable, these are times when God is rolling up His sleeve and getting ready to show off.
‘…My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy)’ says Jesus, this grace ‘is enough for you [sufficient against any danger’. Why? Because it ‘My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.’
The weaker we are, the less we are able to do about it, the better things are, because the more it is time for our Father to take over and show off.
You see, we often forget that Jesus said,
“Ask, and it will be given to you…” Matthew 7:7
And you know, I’ll never understand why, when someone promises us something, we have no qualms about asking them to make good on their promise; but when God Himself promises us something, we don’t take Him up on it.
Yes, I know, we’ve asked but it doesn’t come. Well, this is what the scripture really means in its entirety.
“Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you;…” Matthew 7:7 [AMP]
And in the same,
“…seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 [AMP]
He didn’t say ‘do good’, He said ‘ask, seek, knock’. And neither did He say ‘maybe you’ll get it’. He said you ‘will receive’, you ‘will find’, you ‘it will be opened to you’.
“For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.” Matthew 7:8 [AMP]
‘Everyone’ beloved child of God, ‘everyone’. Not ‘some’, not ‘a few’, not ‘take a number’, everyone.
And that is why, when we are faced with an obstacle, when we are faced with a road block, when challenges come our way to threaten our progress AND we are powerless to overcome it, that is exactly when we should just be like Paul and
“…Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 [AMP]
For wouldn’t it be great if you still received when you had no power to overcome? Wouldn’t it be great if you still found when you were too blinded by the world to see? And wouldn’t it be great if you still had those doors of opportunity opened to you despite never knowing where they were in the first place?
And isn’t it then, in the moment of your greatest weakness, that you realize, it was all Him at work in your life after all?
So beloved child of God, if there’s something or someone hogging your road today, take heart. There must be a greater reason behind it. And fret not if you never know what that reason was, for just like Israel never saw the wars that our Father brought them around to avoid, rejoice for not knowing what calamities you might have faced if not for those obstacles.
And know that it has been, is and forever will be Him at work in your life all along.