God is constantly removing obstacles from our path or placing obstacles in our way. Both reveal his compassion and power in our lives. 

Psalm 114 describes in beautiful poetic imagery God’s power on Israel’s behalf as they came out of Egypt on a journey to the Promised Land. This psalm shows Almighty God clearing the way for his people, removing the obstacles in their way, providing for their needs. The earth literally responded to his commands so that his  purposes for his people could take place his way.

It’s not mentioned in this psalm but it’s worth noting that God also put obstacles (forty-years worth) in the way of the Israelites to teach them and bring about his ultimate purposes in his ways.

He still does the same today. When we trust him and walk in his ways, keeping in step with the Spirit, living with a your-will-be-done attitude, we can be assured that he is out in front of us, clearing the way. But when we are off the path he has marked for us, going our own way, pushing our own agenda, he will lovingly place obstacles in our way to deter us from going that way.

Here’s an approach to assessing your walk with God. As you go, as you pray, does it seem that he is clearing the way for you? Perhaps that means you are on the right path, his path. This is the framework of Romans 8:28; God is indeed working for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

On the other hand, are you constantly running into barriers? Is your “Promised Land” becoming more and more of a distant, hazy, seemingly unreachable goal? Do you feel like you’re wandering in circles, bumping into obstacles? Perhaps you are off his path. The most loving thing God does in our lives is not allow us to wander down a path that leads to destruction and death. Obstacles are often his warning signs to us: Danger ahead! Wrong way! Turn around! Yield to Me! 

(This does not mean all suffering in life is caused by God’s discipline. On this planet, in this current age, troubles will come to those who are on God’s path as well as those who are not. I am suggesting, however, that we should carefully, prayerfully evaluate the signs and obstacles along life’s way, especially those that keep reoccurring.)

The first step in the right direction is this: I want your will, Father, not mine (Luke 22:42).

What do you think? 

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Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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