Obstacles and Opportunities

“A great and effective door has opened to me . . there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV

Adversaries congregate where opportunities abound.

My thoughts and comments today are about “obstacles and opportunities.”

Opportunities abound; so do obstacles. That’s reality. “What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Your attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” J. Sidlow Baxter, Theologian, Author (1903-1999). Your attitude has everything to do with your perspective of what constitutes opportunities and obstacles. One person sees a unique opportunity and proceeds despite obstacles. Another person, easily deterred by obstacles, disregards an opportunity. Such  moments define the measure of your future success or failure. Thomas A. Edison correctly observed, “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Opportunities will include some measure of sacrifice and effort?

Obstacles and opposition are inevitable realities. An obstacle is a circumstance you didn’t need or want. Opposition occurs when people interfere with your progress, actively or accidentally. Such adversity should not be surprising, but is rather to be expected. In fact, little success is achieved without your choosing to persevere and prevail when situations or people impede your advancement. Obstacles present opportunity for inventiveness and invite problem solving to discover better paths to success. Opposition provides opportunity to demonstrate grace and perseverance.

When feeling tired or overwhelmed, let Jesus be your example; “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition . .” Read Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV. His joy to provide your salvation and mine exceeded the suffering and shame He would endure. See James 1:2-5 NIV.

The Apostle Paul was realistic about the reality of challenges in life and faith when he wrote, A great and effective door has opened to me and there are many adversaries.” 1 Corinthians 16:9 NKJV. Paul personally experienced adversity and adversaries. See 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 NKJV. Adversaries congregate where opportunities abound. You might as well prepare yourself for the inevitable. Someone – oblivious, jealous, or antagonistic – will be trying to shut the open door God sets before you. Paul was neither dissuaded by obstacle nor opposition. When he saw an opportunity for the Gospel to be advanced, he was single-minded and fearless.

Paul did not flinch even when forewarned that “. . chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus Christ, to testify to the Gospel of the grace of our God . . the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.” Acts 20:23-24 NKJV/2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV. Paul did not resign himself to an unavoidable fate; he embraced his opportunity and destiny. Neither adversity nor adversaries should dissuade you from fully pursuing the will of God in any and every situation.

My prayer for you today is that you celebrate the faithfulness of God in every difficulty.