God in the midst of insurmountable odds

by Rick McKinley

You know the spots we get into where we are sure that God is calling us somewhere and huge obstacles stand in our way? The places where what stands between you and God’s dream for you seems insurmountable?

I have been thinking about those places a lot lately. Personally it may be a battle with an addiction, it may be a child with a disability that you can’t change or fix, it may be trying to climb out of debt. The list could keep growing.

As a church it seems that there are always huge gaps between what God is calling us to and the resources to get there.

I don’t know what they are for you but I know that you have them because the more I read in the scripture that more I realize that these places are normal places to be in when you are following God.

God is the God of the impossible. The insurmountable moment of the people of Israel standing between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army, The Giant and the kid with the slingshot, The walls of Jericho and a Jewish marching band, The Roman Empire and a homeless King hanging on the cross breathing his last breath.

I am thinking now that if we are not in these places we may need to ask ourselves how closely we are following in God. Time and again this is where the people of God end up. God takes us to these places for a reason. It is here that he does some of the deepest transformational work in our lives.

Here are some of the things that I am learning about God in the midst of insurmountable odds.

The first thing that I notice is that God has my attention. I am no longer resting in the ease of things. I am God attentive. Aware of the obstacle before me I come face to face with my own limitations. I don’t have the resources to overcome it. I am in great need. God alone has the ability to take me through this place he has lead me. He is the only one that can make it happen or bring about the change.

All of my doubt is coming to the surface here. My quickness to blame the situation on others bubbles up to the top. I think of the Israelites asking Moses why he led them to this place. “Were there not enough graves in Egypt?” EX 14 I am quick to look for who is at fault for me being in this place. I may be asking a different question than they did but it is this really the same doubtful question in the midst of my fears. “Were there not enough failed pastors that you needed another one?”, “Did I not have enough pain in my life already that you wanted me to have more?”, “Did I do something wrong that you brought me here to ruin me?”

It is in the in-between that we are called to stand. Nothing more than that, just stand. We can try to avoid the waiting by working hard to find our own way out of the situation but it wont work. We know it won’t work because we have tried it over and over yet we still end up here. It is in the waiting that I am learning about God and myself and the school of discipleship is taking root and growing Christ in me by his Spirit. So I wait. God allows me to wait. It is in the waiting that my emotional doubt starts to subside. I have to get them out of my system and give voice to them so that the deeper voice can begin to be heard. The voice of God. There is a lot for me to learn in the waiting but I wont catch it until my soul gets quite and begins to be still and know that he is God.

These three things seem to be the starting point of moving into and through the insurmountable places that God leads us to. I wouldn’t call any of them very fun. There is more going on here than fun. God is doing something with us and in us and through us and he is taking it very seriously. For God more is at stake than quick passage through hard times. He is shaping a people for himself that will be salt and light in the world. That comes through deep and profound change. God is making that change in these in-between moments where we stand between our Promised Land dreams and the obstacle of large seas and oppressive armies.

What has God taught you in the in-between places when you are facing things that are too big for you and promises that you are called to stand in?

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Rick McKinley will be in Houston for the conference “At the Corner of…” 2011. To register click here.