April 30th Devotion

A Prayer for the Obstacles in Your Way
Chelsey DeMatteis

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt.’” - Exodus 10:21

We measure much of our lives by the obstacles we face. I wonder, though, what would happen if we instead measured life by God's faithfulness and steadfastness? Obstacles are just a part of our every day on this side of eternity; God's faithfulness and steadfastness are a piece of the eternal promise we've received.

I'm not sure about you, but I often relate to the Israelites, grumbling about my current situation and asking the Lord, "Why does it have to be this way?" "Why am I hitting yet another roadblock in my journey with you? Why is there another person trying to get in the way of this project I'm working on? Why is my spouse not understanding how important my work for the Lord is?" Do any or all of these sound like you? In this world, it's hard not to find ourselves adding up the obstacles, and from what I see in the book of Exodus, our ancestors struggled with this, too. It makes me wonder how I would have measured my life in the midst of their exodus. Can you even imagine? Their story was marked by so many obstacles, yet from my perspective, seeing it all laid out on paper, I see the faithfulness of God ten-fold.

The story of theirs that leaps off the pages of scripture for me time and time again is the promised distinction of light God gave them in the midst of the plagues during Pharaoh's reign. It was the ninth plague, the plague of darkness, and God bound light from the entire area for 3 days, except over his people; the Israelites. Can you imagine experiencing this? Suddenly waking up and looking outside of your home to see a darkness so thick you couldn't see anyone or anything around you. Yet, they were covered. Darkness surrounded them but I did not consume them.

Exodus 10:21-29, "Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness to be felt.’ So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was pitch darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. They did not see one another, nor did anyone rise from his place for three days, but all the people of Israel had light where they lived. Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, ‘Go, serve the Lord; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.’ But Moses said, ‘You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the Lord our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.’ But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. Then Pharaoh said to him, ‘Get away from me; take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.’ Moses said, ‘As you say! I will not see your face again.’”

We must stop letting our obstacles consume us and become the most talked about parts of our lives. While they are big moments, we can see here in this story of the Israelites that this moment should've been one of many moments that measured God's faithfulness. This should've been the beginning of a great redemption story, yet we see only a short time later the Israelites had completely forgotten all God had done. This rings so true to me too. I will have a season with God where I'm convinced I'll never drift back to my old way of grumbling; I'll never be that anxious again, I'll never talk that way again, and the list goes on. Then I do, and it's finally set in why, because I'm not fighting the temptation of measuring my life by the obstacles.

We need to fight that temptation and remember that we are called to measure our lives by the faithfulness of God. We are called to share how His steadfastness has carried us and that this is a daily decision we get to make. Will we choose to look for His faithful hand, or will we choose to let the obstacles take center stage of the show?
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