Jesus, obstacles, you. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the first letter of those three words together spell Joy. Though sometimes, and make no mistake, I’m talking to myself, it takes a genius to put what we know into practice.
Often I think of the old song, “O what needless pain we bear”. Today, has been one of those melancholy days for me, and I’ve felt so guilty about it. When you consider how blessed all of us are, why do we ever allow ourselves to stay down?
We act like we weren’t warned, there will be days like this, and I don’t just mean what Momma said. The Lord Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!”
There are times, I have to remind myself. God made the oxygen that I breathe, the moisture that made the storm possible, the rain that soaks it in, and the wind that will blow the clouds away. Thankfully I’m not alone. David encouraged himself in The Lord. Paul said without were fightings, and within were fears, yet it was the Apostle who said, “I’ve fought a good fight, I’ve finished my course.”
I can’t always explain it, but I’ve had this fear most of my life, that I would bottom out and ruin everything. I don’t know exactly why, but I remember first feeling it outside of my Grandfather’s house as a young child. There are seasons when it’s less than others, some where I don’t battle it at all. All I know to do when I face this, is to pray.
I wrestle with it, in different areas of my life at different times. What I do know to do, is to wrestle, and to never give in. You cannot give in to fear. You cannot give up when things seem impassible. There will be a clearing, there will be a dawn! “Weeping may endure for the night, but Joy cometh in the morning.”
It’s not just a Scripture we quote, it’s a reminder, there will be a night, there will at times be tears, but just as surely, there will be Joy, there will be a new day. It is worth the fight, and we are equipped to win!
Jesus helps me to overcome the obstacle, but more importantly, Jesus helps me to overcome me. Most of the time, the obstacle is far less difficult to overcome than myself. However, James said, our battles aren’t designed to destroy us, but to make us steadfast.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
We want to be steadfast, swatting away any battle like it is nothing, and that’s not the point. God didn’t say you would be perfect, and then face the battle. God said, take Joy in the battle, because the battle will produce steadfastness, or completion in us.
We don’t get to face the battle like Superman, with only one kryptonite. We face it like Batman, yes going there, with numerous potential dangers, and scars under the cowl. However, because the battle is worth fighting, we face it with a determination to never give up, never surrender, and never stop fighting.
I don’t mind scars, because Our Superman, The Lord Jesus kept His scars. He kept them, because He loved us enough to take, what were our scars to begin with. That’s where I come to my Joy. How could I struggle with worry so, when The Lord Jesus took the pain of the world on His shoulders, and body slammed it?
How can I struggle so with worry, fear, and anxiety when He has never failed me? When He has never let me down. When He has kept me these forty three years. When He blessed me to enjoy my first, and now second Father’s Day? The battle reassures us that God will give us the victory, because we’ve seen Him do it in our lives.
When I get to the end of the bridge, I kick myself for worrying about the crossing. Yes, we’re human, yes we fear, but yet, we fight, and He fights through us. He brings us to the point we want to begin the battle at, a place of trust and unwavering faith. How did we get there, by having an obstacle to face, and leaning on Him as we face it.
Jesus, obstacle, you. Jesus will use the obstacle to improve you and me. He will complete the sentence. Each word moves us to the end of the phrase, just as each battle produces strength in us to face the next fight. If you’re facing an obstacle, or more likely staring down yourself tonight, let me leave you with this.
Jesus didn’t come to Earth for Himself. He didn’t come to this world for the obstacle we face. He came for you and for me. He came to rescue us from everything, including ourselves, and if He did all of this for us, why do we worry about the obstacle?
The God who literally moved Heaven and Earth to rescue us. Who didn’t let death itself stand in the way, won’t let whatever the day throws at us, to destroy us. In other words, we can have Joy. Joy because Jesus will overcome the obstacle, He will overcome our fears. He will carry us through victorious, because He loves you and I, and that is our Joy over fear!