I don’t know about you, but if someone is going to share something with me, whether it be about how to work through grief or how to let go of bitterness, I want to know that they themselves have experienced whatever it is they are professing to know so much about. In other words, I want to know they blazed the trail before I trust them to be my guide.
No one I can think of is more qualified to talk about hindrances than the apostle Paul. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul tells us about a few of his roadblocks and they aren’t just insignificant speed bumps. This poor man was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked three times, spent a day and night floating in the ocean, and those are just some of the things Paul went through. I would have to turn this into two posts if I listed them all!
I’m telling you what, I might have been able to deal with a shipwreck or two, but the first time I was stoned, especially by the very people I was trying to help, I probably would have called it a day and quit. But Paul allowed God to use these hindrances to give him even more boldness to reach others with the gospel. (Acts 28:30-31)
Paul didn’t allow his hindrances to become hindrances.
You know what I allowed to be a hindrance in my life for way too long? My past. The ugly parts of my past kept me silent for Jesus Christ. Those painful memories kept me silent in the pews week after week. Most devastating of all though, is I allowed my past to keep me from seeking a deeper relationship with my God.
However, when God used my brain surgery to help me deal with this hindrance in my life, chains were broken and nothing would ever be the same. God knew it was my past that would become the catalyst He would use to reach other broken woman. When I speak at a conference, in my first session I share what I hoped no one would ever know. It is never easy, but I say it anyway.
“The two moths I spent living on the streets, I watched teenage guys beat one another up in gang initiations, I witnessed drug deals go down, I narrowly escaped being bludgeoned with a baseball bat when a supposed friend was having a drug hallucination, and I traded my integrity at times so I wouldn’t have to spend a night on the street corner.”
While those memories are not easy to remember, it is a reminder of how far removed I am from that person. This is the power of God’s grace at work in my life.
Only He could transform that dark time in my life and turn it into a testimony for His glory.
The other morning I was talking to my sister on the phone, like we always do and she said, “If someone had come up to me and told me that one day God would use your story to glorify Him, I would have laughed in their face. But He did.”
Don’t you think Satan knew that too? Don’t you think he hoped I would stay in bondage for the rest of my life? But dear one hear me, greater is He that is in you, than he that is in this world. Because of that fact, we can overcome anything. Anything… Anything… (1 John 4:4)
God used the biggest hindrance in my life to become the bridge that would allow me to share His grace with others and point them to Him. He is the Guide that can lead us to freedom.
“Some things ache for years while God slowly mends us and shapes us into the image of His Son. But, in Jesus’ wonder-working name, you can indeed demand that the hindrance be moved from that hurt like a mountain moved into the sea. Just a little bit of faith could change everything.” Beth Moore
Paul, when he was still known as Saul, did everything he could to persecute the early church. Upon his orders, Stephen was stoned to death and many men and women were in chains because of him. Then one day as he traveled down the road that would lead to Damascus, Paul had an encounter with God Himself and the unbelief that used to hinder him became the belief that would free him.
Sometimes it is our greatest hindrance that God plans to use to lead others to Him because only He had the power to remove it.
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