The Obstacles to My Enjoyment

The weekend after I was laid off from the internship, I led on a youth retreat. Not exactly how I wanted to spend that weekend. I would have preferred to spend those couple days wrapped in self-pity and a blanket in bed with kleenex and what was left of my chocolate supply.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my girls! But I felt like I had just come off of one of the more hellish weeks of my life. Not only had I been laid off, but I was denied a promotion at my second job. 

And I felt lost.

The speaker for the weekend presented us with a quote from Larry Crabb that put it all in perspective for me:

We cannot count on God to arrange what happens in our lives in ways that will makes us feel good. We can, however, count on God to patiently remove all the obstacles to our enjoyment of Him. He is committed to our joy, and we can depend on Him to give us enough of a taste of that joy and enough hope that the best is still ahead to keep us going in spite of how much pain continues to plague our hearts.

Let that sink in. Read it again.

God does not want me to feel good. He is not out to make my life happy. He desires so much more for us!

God has taken captive the events of our lives, even those that were meant to be broken and twisted, and is bending them to his glory! He is a passionate father, seeking to remove every obstacle in order to be in right relationship with us.

His plan cannot be foiled! His love can only be ignored for so long before we are aching for it again. He is committed to our joy. He desires us to take joy in the plan he has laid out for us. They way is going to be hard. It is not always going to be the most comfortable or even bearable at points. But it is the end goal that gives us hope.

This does not mean He expects us to be happy all the time. To be honest, I am not happy right now. I still feel lost and a little sad. But there is joy in this season. There is a quiet moment each day when I am asked to come and be still with my father. A moment to refresh myself in the joy He has given me–a moment to realize that life is not about my comfort, but my enjoyment of the father.

God is not an ego maniac, forcing us to mindlessly worship him with happy faces even when life sucks. He is a father who yearns to be in relationship with us where we are–happy, sad, downright pissed. His desire is to be enjoyed by his children through their trust in His way, even when that way gets hard and uncomfortable. His desire is to be relied on in those moments. To be given a chance to comfort and guide his children through the dark and show them the light that is ahead for them.

Therefore, since we have been justified<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”> through faith,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> we have peace<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”> by faith into this grace in which we now stand.<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> And we boast in the hope<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”> of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> does not put us to shame, because God’s love<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,<span class="crossreference" style="font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> who has been given to us. –Romans 5:1-5

Friend, I encourage you to sit down with the father today. Remove the obstacles that are keeping you from enjoying him. Find peace and a taste of joy in that quiet moment with Him. 

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6 thoughts on “The Obstacles to My Enjoyment

  1. There have been times when I have been down the road of pain and down the road of happiness. In some situations I have been so upset with God that I have shaken my fist towards the sky, I might as well have been giving God the “middle finger.” With my dancing efforts there have been times when God has brought me joy and happiness and other times when I have asked, “God, why are you putting me through this hell?” I may not know God's plan for what I am doing all I can do is just wait and see what is on the other side.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mike! I know your journey has had many rough moments, but I hope you found this quote as encouraging as I did. God's love for you is great and he wants to use those rough patches meant to bring you discouragement to actually draw you closer to him. What darkness meant for evil, God will use for his glory, even in those moments we raise an angered fist to heaven.
    Take heart, brother. I pray you find hope and joy on your journey!

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  3. I really needed this, friend. When I'm not being open and honest with the Father about these frustrations (or even sitting down with him to figure them out), it's easy to just run on autopilot. But we can only do that so long. Thank you for this!

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  4. Oh man… that quote… that's convicting, and definitely something I want to reflect on this week.

    And I'll be praying for you as well and your walk with the Lord as well as the whole career thing, which I know can just be (and pardon my language) suck-y.

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  5. I'm glad you found resonance with this quote as well. I love when the truth hits. It's a good pain, like that stretch in muscles that aren't used as often as they should be.
    Praying for you an your family as God leads you in new directions!

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  6. I loved it. Exactly what I needed to hear, even in a moment when I really didn't want to hear it. I'm so thankful God knows not only what truth we need, but the exact moment we need it as well.
    Thanks for your prayers! I'm very grateful.

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