Sometimes we may experience unexpected challenges in life. Things could be going well for us and our loved ones and then suddenly we experience a crisis with no prior warning. Suddenly we are stopped in our tracks and we can’t seem to move forward in life.
Setbacks, Challenges, Knock-backs are all part of life experiences. There are lessons of life that can only be appreciated through personal experience. Someone else’s narrative doesn’t do us as much justice. As individuals we are forced to grow and mature from these challenges, they become part of our story in the journey of life.
So what do we do when we experience these setbacks?
- We simply P.U.S.H – We Pray Until Something Happens. Just like the image in this post, these guys did not sit down and fold their arms when their car broke down, instead of sitting and worrying about their predicament, they got up and started pushing. We should also do likewise – Pray instead of worrying. Pray instead of having a pity-party. We ought to pray not just for the sake of it, as a religious act but because we want to see the hand of God move in our lives. Those pushing the car are not doing so for the fun of it, or to show off their physical strength but they are desperate for the car to get moving and get them to their destination. They are not pushing with one finger but with as much strength to get the car moving. Even the old man with the walking stick to the far left is using his limited strength to push forward.
Our prayers should mirror this – a desperate cry out to God, to move us from where we are to where we need to get to. These guys pushing the car, not only want to get the car moving but they desire to hear the engine roar. When we pray, our desire should be to hear from God, to hear Him confirm His promise or to hear Him guide and direct us.
- We enlist the help of others. We should ask for help and get our loved ones (friends, relatives, church members) to pray along with us, especially when we are feeling weak and vulnerable. Just like those pushing the car in the image, the more people we have pushing, the greater our chances of success.
Sometimes, others may have an encouraging word for us, God may choose to speak to us through others. In asking others to pray along with us, they might have experienced a similar challenge and can offer advice to help us get through the storm.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says – “Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up, but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket get warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. We should not underestimate the tremendous power of a multitude of people praying over the same issue especially when we are feeling weak and vulnerable.
- We must get rid of unnecessary baggage. Just like the image shown in this blog post, sometimes to move forward, we need to lay aside certain things (such as bad habits, bad attitude, mindset, fear) or people in our lives that are weighing us down. They might have been useful in the past but it may be time to move on without them. Hebrews 12:1 says – “Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us”. We should ask God for wisdom to know the things we need to get rid of in our lives, things which are holding us back.
- We must be persistent in Pushing! – We shouldn’t just PUSH once and give up hope. We have to be persistent in our asking, in our praising, in our thanksgiving. For lack of a better word, we keep nagging God until we hear clearly from Him – Yay! Nay! or not right now! Sometimes God doesn’t always answer when we want or how we want him to, He may not take away our pain & our burdens, but He gives us the grace to cope and to move forward.
“The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much ..it is dynamic and can have tremendous power” – James 5:16
- We may need to refuel and recharge – We may have reached a point in our journey where we’ve run out of ‘fuel’. We simply need to refuel by spending time with God and feeding on His word. We can choose to either read or listen to the word. As we spend more time with God, we’ll build up our faith, which will help us get through the hurdles of life.
My prayer is that we will not give up Hope. We will continue to trust in God knowing our prayers do make a difference. God will answer our prayers at the time and in the way that will bring Him the greatest glory.