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  • Michael W. Newman

Obstacle or Vantage Point

On one of my morning running routes, a big “do not enter” sign has been placed on a sidewalk to prevent foot traffic from venturing into a construction zone. The other day, as I passed the sign, I saw a cardinal fly toward it, land on its top edge, scan the area, and then dart purposefully in a new direction in its hunt for breakfast.

The obstacle had become a vantage point.

Isn’t that God’s specialty for His people?

The Red Sea became the reference point of salvation. Goliath’s taunts turned into a confidence boost for the little army of Israel. The fiery furnace and the lion’s den made methods of execution into messages of evangelism. And then there’s Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV). The cross opened up a new vista to the crown of life.

Today, followers of Jesus face the obstacles of perplexing moral questions, a changing culture, new generational practices and preferences, challenging economic realities, new attitudes toward the church, shifting methods of communication, a heightened global consciousness, an intense local emphasis, growing environmental awareness, and much more. In this new context, it would be very easy to bemoan the many obstacles and respond with anger, a critical spirit, hopelessness or retreat.

But what if these obstacles are really new vantage points given by God in order to broaden the reach of His Good News? What if we ran toward them, looked, listened and let God lead us to new ways of seeing His Kingdom come and His will be done?

If we only see a “do not enter” sign, we may be missing God’s next big move.

What obstacles in your life or ministry are you being called to use as vantage points for the movement of God’s grace?

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