Little did I know this was just the beginning of unexpected challenges. My son wasn’t drinking enough milk, and was having trouble reaching his birth weight.
Every morning I would wake up thinking about my goal of going home. Every day the doctor would check in, and my hopes would be let down.
We experienced roadblock, after roadblock, after roadblock. Why, oh why, couldn’t things just go as planned?
Life is full of detours and roadblocks. I’m sure you’ve experienced similar frustrations at some point in your journey. When I read Ezra’s story, I think this is probably how the Israelites felt while they were working on rebuilding the temple.
In the first chapter of Ezra, God moved the heart of King Cyrus to allow the Israelites to return to their city and begin rebuilding the temple. It was not only a good plan, it was God’s plan. However, they had barely laid the foundation and rebuilt the altar when they began experiencing roadblocks.
The pagans harassed them.
King Antaxerxes ordered them to stop.
The builders became discouraged.
They had hit a complete standstill.
When God saw that his plan had come to a standstill, he sent Haggai and Zachariah to prophesy to them “in the name of the God of Israel who was over them.” The prophets pitched in, helping and supporting them.
This time, nothing was able to stop them. Not even pagan bullies. They finished the building of the temple by keeping their eyes focused on God, not the challenges they encountered along the way.
As obscure as this story may seem from a quick look, I think we all can learn a lesson from this valuable book. No matter what plans we make, or whether our work is good work, or even God work, we will all face setbacks along the way. Jesus said, in John 16:33, that as long as we’re on this side of heaven, we will have trouble in this world. However, he paired it with this promise: “ take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Jesus doesn’t promise a life of rainbows and sunshine, but we overcome our troubles by keeping our eyes fixed on Him.
Friend, what roadblock is frustrating you today? What has discouraged you to the point of quitting? Let us not become discouraged by the things that come against us. Instead, let’s glorify God by persevering.