A friend was praying for me a while back and she felt like God had given her a distinct picture or impression in her mind as she was praying. She said, “I see you walking along a path or a road. There are rocks scattered along the way. Some are very small and easy to move, some are medium sized and require effort but you can move them, and then I see this giant boulder right in the middle of your way blocking your path. You can’t get around it or climb over it. You are trying desperately in your own strength to move it, but you can’t. You are wearing yourself out trying. Then I see this large hand coming down from heaven and moving the rock for you.” She finished by saying, “Ask God to show you what this boulder represents and have Him move it for you?”
I’ve thought about that word picture several times since then. We all encounter small pebbles along our journey. Small pebbles are like temporary distractions. These distractions keep us busy for a while, but will not keep us from reaching our goal in the end. We may even stumble or twist an ankle, but we will get over it. It has no lasting impact on us. These small pebbles require little effort on our part to move out of our way, re-focus our attention, and get back on track.
The medium sized rocks require more effort on our part, but they are not impossible to move. These represent obstacles we encounter that need our attention and follow-through in order to move ahead. We need to exert effort in order to move them.
Giant boulders, on the other hand, are impossible to move by ourselves. We need God’s help. Boulders block our way and keep us stuck, unable to move around or ahead. They are more than just small distractions or medium sized obstacles, they can literally stop us in our tracks. If we stop our journey here, we can miss out on seeing God’s plans and purposes for our life fulfilled.
These boulders can seem like dream killers. They are not necessarily negative people or difficult circumstances either. Some of these boulders exist inside of us, inside of our minds. People and circumstances may contribute to the lies we believe in our minds, but we are responsible for repeating those lies to ourselves. Over and over again, we repeat what others have said and we choose to believe them rather than God. Repeat and believe, repeat and believe — the cycle continues. The Truth gets crowded out of our minds. People shout in our ears while God whispers to our heart, “Don’t believe their lies.” But we only hear what is loudest. We choose to hear what we want to. We make excuses or blame others for why we can’t do something.
One boulder that many of us struggle with, including myself, is “Fear, Doubt and Unbelief.” We fear what others will think of us. We fear making a mistake or failing. We doubt if we have what it takes to accomplish our goals. We doubt whether or not we can hear God’s voice clearly. We simply don’t believe in ourselves enough to give God a chance to use us. In essence, we don’t believe God cares about our struggles.
Let’s face it, we can get comfortable staying in one place. It is familiar to us and we know what to expect. It doesn’t require the extra effort of moving forward. Because we can’t see around the boulder, we don’t know what is ahead of us. We fear what is beyond the boulder. We fear getting our hopes up, only to be disappointed on the other side. We doubt whether or not anything will change, so why bother trying. We don’t expect anything good to happen.
Sometimes we don’t even know where to start. The boulder is intimidating and big. We feel overwhelmed just by looking at it. We know we can’t do it alone. Sometimes we find it easier to live with the boulder, and pretend it is not there, than to face it, change it and get beyond it. We don’t want to exert the energy or do the work necessary to get un-stuck. Our fears seem like monsters in our heads.
One time my CD player got stuck in my car and kept playing the same CD over and over again. Because I like listening to Joyce Meyer in my car when I drive, it was stuck on one of her teaching CD’s. Wouldn’t you know it, the part that kept repeating was what she called, “Roll Away the Stone.” Remembering this prayer I heard, I thought to myself, “Ok God, what are you trying to teach me here?”
She gave the example that even though Lazarus was dead and God was getting ready to do a miracle of raising him to life again, he first required Mary and Martha to roll away the stone. Think about that for a moment. If God was getting ready to do this major miracle and raise Lazarus from the dead, why did He ask them to move the stone? Why couldn’t He have moved the stone Himself? I think He was testing their faith. Did they believe God had the power to do what He said He was going to do. He wanted to know if they were willing to prove it by taking the first step.
Joyce Meyer said, “If you do what you CAN do, God will do what you CANNOT do.” The stone was no obstacle to God, but it was to them. I don’t know if they would have seen their miracle if they had not taken that first step. At some point you have to say, “OK God, I don’t understand what you are doing here, but I am going to trust you.” God measures our trust by what we do. He watches our actions, more than our words. Like the mud on the blind man’s eyes, He often asks us to do things that don’t make any sense. We may not see our miracle, unless we do our part. Sometimes we can be our biggest obstacle. Our fears can keep us stuck.
What is God asking me to do? What is God asking you to do?
Rolling away the stone was do-able. It required effort but it was not impossible to do. Before we go judging Mary and Martha, we need to remind ourselves of when God has prompted us to do something like: clean the house, start exercising, make healthier eating choices, take a break from work, play with the kids, stop using credit cards or going into debt, apologize to your spouse (just to name a few). These things are easy and simple for us to do, yet we find ourselves procrastinating doing them. We stay busy, or make excuses, or feel so overwhelmed by the mere thought of them, that we never start. Could we be hindering our own miracle?
God impressed on my heart once when I was feeling overwhelmed, “Just do the next right thing.” I think what He was saying was, “Take a step in the right direction. Stop looking so far ahead of you down the road that you get overwhelmed and stop moving forward. Focus on the walk and not on how many steps you have to take.”
Isaiah 1:19 says this, “If you will only OBEY me and let me HELP you, then you will have PLENTY.” (I have plastered this verse on little notecards all over my house.)
We need to do what God has asked us to do, and stop trying to do it in our own strength. We need to ask for and let God help us — AND THEN we will have plenty. In other words, we will have more than enough, all we need plus something extra. God will take care of us, but we have to do our part. It’s not because He can’t or won’t, but because He chooses to “partner” with us on this journey called life.
We may focus on the rocks in our way, negative people or circumstances that we believe keep us from achieving our goals. But God asks us, “What obstacles are in your heart that keeps you from believing your dreams are possible? What distorted beliefs do you hold about God that keeps you from trusting He has a good plan for your life?”
Let us stop focusing on the rocks in our path: the distractions, the obstacles, and the impossibilities we see ahead. Let us take the next right step by following-thru on what God has already impressed on our hearts. Let us trust God that He is able to do what He has whispered to our hearts. “All things are possible…”
Live like you believe it!