Does God Give Us Obstacles?

Welcome to another week!

A couple weeks ago a movie quote took on new meaning for me. In the movie, the main character asks why a friend never finished college. Her friend says sometimes the Lord gives us obstacles.

People often wrongly apply 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful: he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” (NIV). I’ve heard this paraphrased countless times as, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

Baloney! I believe God permits things to happen to all his followers that are more than they can bear alone.

So does God give us obstacles, or does he permit them? I think sometimes he allows us to suffer. For example, he is the Creator of the universe. But he permits miserable creatures to live. Not many of us can say we enjoy the company of wasps. God also allows people to suffer. But sometimes it’s these very obstacles that end up doing the most good in peoples’ lives.

Take the man born blind whom Jesus healed. If he’d been able to see, Jesus wouldn’t have healed him. If he’d not been healed, he couldn’t have told the Pharisees, “I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25 NIV). John Newton couldn’t have used that line in “Amazing Grace,” and we couldn’t sing these marvelous words when we need a reminder of God’s goodness.

Health issues and money problems most likely top our list of obstacles. We make plans and something goes wrong. You’re all set to start a new job and find out Grandma needs round-the-clock care. You believe God is calling you to be her caregiver, so you give up the job opportunity.

You’re all set to go back to college and you find out your kids still need you at home. You need a car and have no savings.

Now, did God cause these things or allow them? I think he allowed them so we would lean on him. He wants us to rely on his strength, not our own abilities and talents. After all, who gave us the talents? God, of course.

When you’ve leaned on God and survived, even conquered obstacles, you know that God is real, and that he truly wants to help you. Romans 5:3-4 reads, “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (NIV). Obstacles may make you suffer, but if you persevere, it builds character, and your character gives you hope for today and the future. So whatever obstacle you’re struggling with today, remember that the ultimate reward will be hope.

Dressed in Faith prom dress giveaway will be held at Fallowfield United Methodist Church on Friday, March 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Girls may choose from more than 400 dresses in all sizes and colors. Some shoes and jewelry will be available, as well as alterations. There is no charge to borrow a dress, but girls are expected to return their dress.

To preregister, please call Barb Griggs at (814) 382-2560 or Lois Amos at (814) 382-2504. Walk-ins are welcome. Financial donations will be accepted. Fallowfield United Methodist is located at 3993 Leach Road, Atlantic. If you’re coming from Conneaut Lake, take 322 West and turn left onto Atlantic-Lake Road. At the stop sign, turn left onto Adamsville Road. Cross a set of railroad tracks and take the next right. The church is on your right. It’s brick and has a huge stained glass cross on the front facing Laird Road.

This is a fantastic community service. I know Barb and Lois personally, and they’ve put a lot of heart into this project. I once met a girl who borrowed a dress from Dressed in Faith and couldn’t thank me enough. I explained to her that it was held at my church but I wasn’t involved. She still thanked me over and over.

There will be a Lenten Luncheon at Calvary United Methodist Church in Greenville on Wednesday, March 9, at 11:30 a.m. The Reverend Karen Kostur of Sugarcreek and Lupher Chapel will speak and Marcia McKelvey will provide entertainment. The event is hosted by the Old Salem United Methodist Women. Expect a nice lunch.

Have a wonderful week. Blessings!