I was walking Milo early the other morning, the same routine every weekday. We were approaching the end of the sidewalk and all of a sudden he started barking and crouching low, with the hackles raised on his back. It’s dark out, pitch black as a matter of fact, and now I’m concerned for what lurks ahead.
As it turns out, the home owners association placed a huge “decorative” boulder at the end of the sidewalk. It was not there the day before and according to Milo, it didn’t belong.
Milo’s reaction is typical for us as well. What is this thing, this boulder, in front of us that we now have to face? It’s so much larger than me and what I can handle. Why is it there? I don’t like it and I want it gone!
Just like the newly found boulder, life’s stumbling blocks are there showing themselves to each of us, we just don’t know when they’ll appear. They cause many types of reactions, including, anxiety, worry and fear. The initial response can be downright panic because of the unexpectedness of the situation. The next day, we may hope it’s not really there, but we recognize it and can deal with it a little better with fresh eyes and awareness, but we still approach with caution. By the time the third day rolls around, it becomes part of our new normal. We expect it and know it’s there, so we just push forward until the stumbling block is dealt with and it’s no longer in our way.
Of course Milo’s boulder effect only lasted three days, but it’s not so simple for some of life’s stumbling blocks that are thrown our way. The fear that lasted for Milo might cause panic and anxiety for weeks and longer depending on the issues at hand. There’s no simple and easy remedy.
Having experienced many different types of stumbling blocks throughout my life (to name a few: cheating spouse, divorce, loss of a job, custody & contempt of court issues), I have learned to change my mindset. I still have that initial pang of anxiety when something unexpected pops up, but then I quickly pray and lay it in God’s hands. I have come to realize that sometimes there truly is nothing I can do and worrying about it won’t change anything, but will in fact, make things worse and affect me in different ways. Worrying can cause you to lay awake at night, unable to sleep because of everything running over and over again in your mind. Then it will affect the following days because of how tired you are from not getting your proper rest.
Stumbling blocks build character and help us to rely and trust in God, so sometimes they come along to draw us closer to Him. However, don’t push God away. I have learned, and it’s not easy, to trust God and to lay everything in His more than capable hands. We can’t see the big picture in our narrow minded views, and if I try to take control of the situation on my own, there’s a very good possibility that I’ll make matters even worse. We have to learn to patiently wait on God, it’s against our nature, but in the end we’ll be glad that we did, because He will work it out perfectly according to His plan. And, ultimately, we do not want to be outside of His plan and will for our lives.
So, patiently pray and trust God to deal with your stumbling block and learn to hear and listen to His voice. Answers may take years to be fulfilled, but be patient and allow Him to direct your steps, because He’ll always have us going in the right direction.
#stumblingblocks #faith #hope #trust #christianlife