Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. (Jonah 1:4)
An evangelist visiting our church shared his testimony of salvation. He confessed to our congregation that, years before, he had been vigorously resisting the Holy Spirit and had filled his life with things to distract him from his burdened conscience. After an argument with another man, he was determined to take revenge. He loaded a gun and set out, having made up his mind to find and kill the man. On the way, he stopped at a friend’s house and found himself engrossed in a conversation that led to his asking for prayer and being converted that very night.
While many do not have such a dramatic change in direction in such a short time, we all have experienced the gentle hand of God in the form of an interruption or a hindrance. Sometimes the greatest expression of God’s grace is a roadblock he sends when we are in danger of stumbling or bent on backsliding. How many times have simple circumstances or inconveniences on the road to sin been an answer to a parent’s prayer for a wayward youth? God does not take away our choice, and indeed sin often presents itself as the “easy way.” However, God’s abundant mercy often protects us (and others) in our weakness or ignorance, sheltering us from harmful choices by causing those choices to be difficult or simply impractical.
Thank God for difficulties that prevent stumbling, even without your awareness.
Debbie Shaw is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and resides in North Carolina with her husband, Lee. She enjoys gardening, painting, reading, and coffee.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.