Along my route, there is constant change. When I began to walk this way there were one story buildings that appeared to be unused. One day I was rerouted to the other side of the street as a building was demolished. Over time the land was prepared and a new larger building began to rise in its’ place. Eventually, the construction project became so large that my usual walk was no longer available to me.
Numbers 22:22-27 (HCSB)
Balaam’s Donkey and the Angel
22 But God was incensed that Balaam was going, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand on the path to oppose him. Balaam was riding his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing on the path with a drawn sword in His hand, she turned off the path and went into the field. So Balaam hit her to return her to the path. 24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a stone wall on either side. 25 The donkey saw the Angel of the Lord and pressed herself against the wall, squeezing Balaam’s foot against it. So he hit her once again. 26 The Angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn to the right or the left. 27 When the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she crouched down under Balaam. So he became furious and beat the donkey with his stick.
There are times when spiritually the path we want to take is blocked. Whether we are seeking a leadership role within the church or a good position at work God is always working on our behalf. Unfortunately, we do not always recognize His hand directing our path. Just as Balaam was blind to the angel of the Lord we may find ourselves beating our head against a wall trying to understand why we cannot move forward when all along it is God saying, ‘this is not the way I would have you go.’
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
4 Then the Lord hurled a violent wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart. 5 The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god. They threw the ship’s cargo into the sea to lighten the load. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone down to the lowest part of the vessel and had stretched out and fallen into a deep sleep.
6 The captain approached him and said, “What are you doing sound asleep? Get up! Call to your god.[a] Maybe this god will consider us, and we won’t perish.”
7 “Come on!” the sailors said to each other. “Let’s cast lots. Then we’ll know who is to blame for this trouble we’re in.” So they cast lots, and the lot singled out Jonah.
Have you ever tried to make progress in a direction you thought was perfect for you and felt as if everything was against your progress? This is what the sailors must have felt like when they entered that storm. Sometimes we make decisions that seem good at the time but create negative results. In some cases those results impact not only our progress but that of our family members.
So the road is blocked. The path you have chosen seems permanently closed. You feel as if your dreams have been crushed. What do you do now? Do you give up and mope?
Balaam had to learn the hard way. The Angel of the Lord revealed himself to Balaam and reprimanded him for beating his donkey. The sailors joined together to identify the problem and find a solution. When they learned that Jonah was at fault it was Jonah that suggested they throw him overboard.
I am not advocating suicide here but I do think that, like Jonah, we need to take stock of the situation and create a new plan that aligns with God’s goals for our lives. Perhaps that new job isn’t in the cards now because there is still work to be done where you are.
When the road is closed we need to prayerfully consider what our other options are. Near the construction site I was able to take a parallel path to my destination. It circled about but I learned more about the area and made discoveries of new shops and buildings I had not previously seen. If we take the road closed signs God gives us as opportunities we will develop the perspective to grow from the new opportunities He places before us.
Lord, help me to see your alternative plan when the path I have chosen is blocked by your Spirit. Amen.