Thursday, 9 January 2014

A Reflection on God and Obstacles

With God there are no obstacles; there are only opportunities we haven't realized yet.

In September last year I had to take on a full-time job to support my family while my wife began a maternity leave. We had been lucky so far to have the income for me to focus on planting The Network Church without working at a full time job (and that has been beyond fantastic for me), but this just seemed impracticable with our income being slashed for the next nine months.

And I have to be honest, I wasn't too happy about it. I mean, I don't mind working. I've had all sorts of jobs from farming and general machining all the way to directing youth leadership programs and pastoring relatively big churches. I don't mind working, but I felt resentful of the fact that this isn't what I need to be doing. I felt so strongly for the vision of this church and I wanted to put as much energy into it as possible. I wanted to focus on it in a way that seems impossible with full-time work. Basically, this job felt like an obstacle in my work for God. I felt like it was something that was standing in the way of what God really had for me to do.

It wasn't too long ago now that I was convicted of something. It happened while listening to an experienced church planter. He said that the very first step he took while planting his own church was to "lay down a ridiculous foundation of prayer." This is something that I am loathe to say that I failed to do on the scale he was talking about. He talked about full-time, eight hours a day, prayer for six months before any official launch or meeting. I loved it! But, of course, who would say no to more prayer? Of course we need more of that. You always need more than whatever it is you're doing. Prayer just works that way.

The conviction came when I reflected on my own situation. And you have to understand, with my job I spend a lot of time alone to think and reflect as I please. I spend a lot of time traveling around the city we're trying to impact. I'm constantly meeting new people, and going to different places. I was astounded at how blind I had been. This job was the perfect opportunity to lay down a foundation of prayer for our church in a way that I wouldn't have been able to before.

But the greater conviction came when I realized how I had approached this. It turns out that my life situation is in no way an obstacle between me and what God wants of me. It turns out that God put me in the situation I needed in order to work for something greater and something better. The obstacle was no obstacle at all, it was an opportunity.

With God there are no obstacles; there are only opportunities we haven't realized yet.

I don't know what God has planned for me, or for the Network Church over the next year, but what I do know is that nothing will be truly worthwhile unless He is involved. That's going to be my prayer for the next several months. That we would find Him, and live our lives fully realizing the plan He's already working through us.

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