The Bible is replete with stories of people who travelled along life’s road only to discover that they were trapped in a cul-de-sac with seemingly no way of escape. The people of Israel, caught between a rock and a hard place, or more accurately, between the armies of Egypt and the Red Sea. Samson, blinded and fettered, forced to grind grain in a Philistine mill. Joseph, betrayed by his brothers, auctioned as a slave in Egypt, and imprisoned under trumped up charges of infidelity. In some cases, the suffering was self-inflicted. In others, it was due to circumstances beyond the individual’s control.
But whatever the case (or cause), they found themselves ensnared in a ‘horrible pit’, to quote the Psalmist David, stuck fast in the ‘miry clay’ (Psalm 40.2). Which brings me to my next point: life is not about avoiding problems — life is about overcoming them. Problems, setbacks, obstacles, and difficulties are part and parcel of the experience of life. Peter admonished his readers, “Do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try to you, as though some strange thing happened to you” (1 Peter 4.12).
For this reason, Jesus, in his messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor, advised the believers to acknowledge the issues that they faced and to find ways to overcome them (Rev 2 & 3).
In this article I want to show you the first step in overcoming the obstacle that lies in your path, irrespective of whether it’s your fault or someone else’s. In John chapter eleven, we read about the death of Jesus’ close friend and host, Lazarus of Bethany. Confronted with a grieving family and a seemingly impossible situation, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” And then he doubled down by saying, “Do you believe this?” (John 11.25-26). Notice that Jesus did not say, “I make resurrections happen.” He said something far more complex than that. “I am resurrection and I am life.” In other words, “I am the source of life. Resurrection flows from me. It is the product of who I am.”
Similarly, God revealed himself to Abraham as the One who “gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Rom 4.17). And to the people of Israel as the One who “makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters”, indeed, as the One who does “a new thing”, unprecedented in the annals of humankind (Isa 43.16-19).
This is not the end
Following the Allied victory in the second battle of El Alamein in November, 1942, a campaign that turned the tide of the war in North Africa, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Indeed, it is the ability to stare down an enemy when he appears to be winning, to face obstacles and setbacks when they seem to be overwhelming, and boldly declare, “THIS IS NOT THE END”, that separates the victors from the vanquished.
A change in one’s circumstances begins with a change in one’s psychology — adopting a new mindset, a new way of thinking and believing. Believing that this is the not the end, regardless of what the doctor has said, or the marriage counselor, or the financial adviser, or any other ‘expert’ for that matter. Psychologists tell us that the very contemplation of an alternate reality opens the mind to creative solutions. One’s circumstances are subject to change, especially when God gets involved!
In a spectacular vision on the Isle of Patmos, Jesus revealed himself to an apostle in exile and a church under duress as “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”, the One “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1.8). One day I was sitting in church waiting for the service to commence, and the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “I am Lord of that which is, and that which is to come. Things will not always be the way they currently are in your life. Your circumstances will change for the better. Have faith for that which is to come.”
And it is this kind of faith that I want to stir up in you today through the preaching of the Word. Faith for a future that is as bright as the promises of God.
Faith that …
God can open a door that no one can shut
God can part the sea and enable you to start a new life on the other side
God can raise up your ministry from the ashes of shattered dreams
God can restore your broken relationship
God can help you get out of paralysing debt
God can heal your troubled mind and sick body
Faith that …
Nothing is beyond the scope of his resurrection life and power!