March 22, 2005
Encouragement for Today
Roadblocks of Life
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have the do to you.” (Luke 6:27-31)
It all started as a dispute over the boundary lines of our property when we discovered that we had made a mistake and part of our driveway was on land that did not belong to us. We tried to buy the small parcel of land and thought of every scenario possible to fix the problem without having to dam up part of our pond and move the driveway over. But no solution was acceptable to our neighbor and it became apparent that we’d have to do the least desirable option.
We needed to wait until the dryer summer months so the water level of the pond could get to a place that it would be feasible to drain. But even this was unacceptable and soon we started being greeted by various blockades meant to keep us from being able to use our driveway. Huge rocks were placed across the driveway. Sawhorses and boards of wood were posted with no trespassing signs. This continues for months and we grew more and threatened, frustrated, hurt and bewildered.
Here I was, a woman in Christian ministry who spends my life teaching women to love one another, and this person couldn’t stand the sight of me. It broke my heart, and worst of all it was beyond my ability to fix. I cried out to God and begged Him to remove the problem, soften hearts, change minds, or best of all supernaturally move the driveway. But it was not to be. Week after week, I’d find myself driving down my road only to be halted by the latest blockade attempt.
Then came the day God moved. It wasn’t the driveway or even the other person’s heart. It was the day God moved me. Infuriated, I came home to find a fence being constructed across the drive which would permanently block us from going to and from our house. As I stormed into my home, God suddenly broke through my anger and anxiety and prompted me to take my fence-building adversary a cup of water.
It was a hot summer day and she was tired and thirsty from her labor…because of all the energy she was exerting to hurt me! God wanted me to give her water to refresh and reenergize her efforts? “This is not fair,” I thought. This does not make sense! Yet, in obedience I slowly made my way down to the fence. As I got out of the car and started toward her, I had to will my feet to walk. But as my arm reached to give her the water, it was as if the fog lifted and I so clearly felt God’s impression on my heart, “Today it would be physical water but one day this is one of the things that will be used to lead to her receiving the Living Water.”
Seed were planted that day…in her heart and mine. How they will be nurtured is up to the Lord. God has the most amazing way to work in the unseen details of life and work out His plan despite us. Here I was kicking and screaming through this situation that I thought seemed so pointless and all along God had a plan. All I could think about was changing the circumstances that were causing disruption and discomfort to my world. Now I realize that for that season of my life that was my assignment from God. It was my time to learn to love an enemy.
My Prayer for Today:
Lord, help us to have graceful and forgiving hearts to those who have hurt us deeply. Though we may not understand why or exactly how to do it, work supernaturally in our lives so that Your power may be demonstrated during the moments of greatest trial. Amen.
What enemy do you need to love at this moment? Make it a point today, or even this week, to reach out to them in some way. Here are some ideas:
1) Offer to take them to lunch, invite them over for dinner, or pay them a visit bearing goodies.
2) Show an interest in their life or the things they like to do.
3) Pray for them.
4) Be bold and confront the situation in a loving way instead of letting unspoken hostilities continue to build
5) Ask God to show you areas in your own life that may be aiding the problem.
Why do we go through hard times where our circumstances don’t seem to change? Because God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. It’s not about changing the adverse circumstances. It’s about embracing God’s plans for the circumstances and allowing Him to have His full way in us. Find a perspective beyond your own. Only then can you find incredible peace in the storms of life.
Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Luke 6:32-36, “If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them. If you do good only to those who do good to you, what praise should you get? Even sinners do that! If you lend things to people, always hoping to get something back, what praise should you get? Even sinners lend to other sinners so that they can get back the same amount! But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy.” (NCV)
Originally published Tuesday, 22 March 2005.