by Michelle Harding
Founder President of Life by Design Ministries, Hurlock, MD
Senior Leader at Church of The King, Easton, MD
Merriam Webster defines “Roadblock” as:
1 a : a barricade often with traps or mines for holding up an enemy at a point on a road covered by fire
b : a road barricade set up especially by law enforcement officers
2: an obstruction in a road
3: something that blocks progress or prevents accomplishment of an objective
Roadblocks are one of those things that we encounter in life. Where I live, the state of Maryland is building a long overdue and much needed bridge to replace the one that currently stands there. That bridge is a source of great frustration in our community, you never know if it will be stuck open, or if you are on a boat; if it will be stuck closed, or if you will drive over it and pavement begins to fall into the river beneath you. And as we wait on the completion of this new bridge, we encounter roadblocks almost every day. A few days ago, while sitting in traffic waiting for my turn to pass through the one lane open to traffic, frustrated that it was taking so long, the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “Wherever there is progress, there will be roadblocks, things that will deter, delay, and distract.”
When I looked up the definition of roadblock and saw its various meanings, I was struck at how parallel they are to our spiritual journey towards destiny. In making progress in our lives we will face barricades, traps, and landmines placed there by the enemy of our souls. Dark forces are indeed at work to hinder the progress of the Kingdom of God in us and through us. Often times these seasons feel like a barrage of unceasing enemy fire seeking to enforce the lies that once held us back or mindsets that keep us paralyzed in fear.
Sometimes when there are obstructions on the road to destiny, they are not for our detriment, but for our good. There are times Father, in His deep love and mercy towards us, will allow delays forward to cause us to take a new direction or delay us so things can be made safer ahead. You see, just like the roadblocks I face every day traveling over that bridge here in my community, there are days it is best to wait for things to clear and sometimes it is best to take an alternative route. I look for signs around me that will help me gage the best choice. In the same way, asking Father and being led of the Spirit, we can discern if the delay is best waited on or if we are to seek a new direction.
In my own life, often the roadblocks I have faced stem from unbelief in areas; lies I’ve believed; or a wrong view of Father and my relationship with Him. Still others we face are past hurts, things we get hung up on, and bad habits. Roadblocks to our destiny also include, financial difficulties, divorce or bad relationships, continued sin cycles, job loss, death of a loved one, trauma, abuse, addiction, unforgiveness, depression, self-hatred, or a notorious past. There are many other things that could be added to this list, it is by no means meant to be exhaustive, since each of us have traveled our own roads in this life and have faced many roadblocks in it.
But as the final definition above shows us, the reality is roadblocks can block progress or prevent us from stepping fully into our destiny. We will face roadblocks, but there are truths that can propel us further or shift our current trajectory to step into our destiny. One of the most important to remember is roadblocks are temporary, but how we handle them determines the outcome. The verse that comes to mind here for me most often is Proverbs 3:5-6
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Trusting Father is essential. Our unwavering assurance of His love is the ground work for every area we trust Him with. Complete knowing, that He is a good Father, a loving Father, a giving Father, and a trustworthy Father becomes the plumb line of every issue of our heart and lives. In my knowing how thoroughly and unquestionable His love for me is, nothing can overtake me.
Another point is we cannot lean on our own understanding. Why? Because often our understanding is skewed. Things like our past, the culture we were raised in, the lenses religion has put on us, wrong doctrines, and just plain bad teaching can distort how we see, perceive, and understand situations, circumstances and people. This is why the next portion of our instruction is so important in Proverbs 3:5-6.
We are to acknowledge Father in all our ways. According to the “Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament”, the word here for acknowledge is the Hebrew word “yada”. In its simplest definition it is “to know”. But a closer look reveals that it is tied to the “knowing possessed by God in which nothing can be hidden” It also speaks to it being something He teaches man and is parallel to wisdom and understanding, instruction, and law. So to sum “acknowledge Him” up it means that if we will know Him, we will taught by Him wisdom in our ways, but it requires a contemplative pursuit of His wisdom and knowledge.
To be contemplative is to make thoughtful observations, it requires reflection, deep and considered thought. It is to be purposeful, intentional, and expectant. And most importantly, prayerful. His wisdom is often mined out of the hard places in our lives if we will be contemplative seekers of Him and His wisdom. So as we acknowledge Him in all our ways, it is important that we are not dogmatic in what we know, but are willing to ask ourselves hard questions and that we are willing to allow the Lord to offend our minds to get to our hearts.
In doing these things we have a promise! And in our knowing of His Love and faithfulness to us, our Father is a promise keeper. So, He promises us as we trust Him, not leaning on our own understanding, and acknowledge Him in all our ways, He WILL make our paths straight. We can trust Him with the roadblocks and we can trust Him to lead us forward or around the obstacles. Your destiny is straight ahead!
Eric Reeder is joined by other leaders of RISEmovement to reveal the heartbeat of The HOPE-filled Gospel.