Obstacles In Our Way

A single drop of rain is essential to sustaining life, but millions of drops of rain joined together can form a storm. Together, buffetted by winds, this torrent of rain, especially when driving a vehicle, can become a destructive and dangerous blinding force that makes it impossible to see the dangerous obstacles that lay in front of us. Clearly at times such as this we must slow down, sometimes we need to turn on our hazard lights and during especially bad storms it is safest to pull off the road and just stop.

The day to day mundane essentials of life can be much like what I described above. Each element of life: our families, our relationships, our jobs or careers, our various community gatherings, our church families, our physical health, and our plans for retirement individually can be like those single rain drops.However, there are many days on life’s journey when these individual elements seem to join together into a massive rain storm that makes traveling life’s roads seem dangerous and while we are caught up in the storms of day to day life our vision may become blinded to the real sinful obstacles that Satan has placed in our path.

What obstacles do you have in your life that obscure your relationship with God? In the fall of 2011and again in the fall 2012, I had the opportunity to make an 8 day silent retreat. It was during these periods of silence, when the monotonous noise of everyday life was removed, God granted me the opportunity to hear Him more clearly andHe pointed out the sinful obstacles in my life that negatively impacted my relationship with Him.

Now, dealing with my new medical condition with this blindness that started over two weeks ago, the doctors are hopeful that I will regain my sight, as to what extent, that is still unknown, until then I am choosing to use this time as a visual spiritual retreat with God.I have no doubt that with all monotonous visual distractions removed I can focus solely on seeing God and allowing Him once again to visually point out any sinful obstacles that can obscure a closer relationship with him.

Perhaps we would all benefit from a visual spiritual retreat!

With that thought in mind God touched my heart with the lyrics from a song sung by Johnny Nash that made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972 entitled “I Can See Clearly Now“. To listen to this song click here.

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)

Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone

All of the bad feelings have disappeared

Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin’ for

It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)

Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothin’ but blue skies

Look straight ahead, nothin’ but blue skies

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)

Sun-Shiny day.

All of us have obstacles in our lives that blind us! Some are auditory obstacles. Do we need to turn off the TV or radio more? Even if we only listen to Christian music, perhaps a temporary break from that too is important to hearing God’s voice more clearly. Some of our obstaclesare visual obstacles. In today’s world, visual obstacles are ever increasing. Today’s media bombards us all with lustful images, technology places the visual pollution of pornography at ones finger tips, and many people have developed an addiction to the social media craze. If these obstacles aren’t what you face, then what are the obstacles that keep you from seeing God more clearly? For a moment place yourself in the shoes of Bartimaeus who is introduced to us in Marks gospel sitting alongside the road as Jesus travels to Jericho. Please read from Mark 10: 46-52 knowing now, that we all have obstacles that create some amount of personal spiritual blindness.

The Blind Bartimaeus

They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent.

But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

Can I encourage you to take a few moments now to cry out to Jesus with the words of Bartimaeus, “Jesus, son of David have mercy on me.” Now in your mind’s eye, stare intently into the eyes of Jesus as He asks you this question “What do you want me to do for you?” Answer with these words “Master, I want to see!” Now, still with eyes firmly focused on Jesus, allow Him to point out the obstacles that must be removed from your life so that you can see Christ more clearly, for when we are gazing solely on Christ unobstructed by worldly obstacles it is always a bright sunshiny day!

In the midst of my darkness, God allowed me to see an example of His grace in action first hand here at Duke Medical Center during my hospital stay.Two strong Christian couples who are dear friends of mine and my wife, but not knowing each other, happened to show up here to visit me at the same time. My wife gathered them and walked down to the visiting room lobby, waiting for me to join them after dealing with the neurologist who had also arrived at the same time. The neurologists updated me on my medical condition, saying that the MRI results showed indications of lesions both in my brainand spine and this lead the doctors to form their preliminary diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or another MS like closely associated disease. The doctors are still waiting for additional lab test results to be able to pinpoint the exact diagnosis. After giving me this news, the doctors departed from my room and my daughter Katie, who was with me to hear this news, lead me by the hand to where my wife and the other two couples were sitting. Hear we were, three strong Christian couples, sharing our stories of recent medical diagnosis. The husband in couple number one had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease five days ago; the wife in couple number two had recently been diagnosed with Lymphoma, and I had just been given my diagnosis of an MS like disease. All three couples, with joy in their voices, love in their hearts, and eyes firmly affixed on Christ, discussed the future, not as a rain storm, but with our hands in His hands, knowing that no matter what is to come, with Him leading the way, it is going to be a bright bright sunshiny day.

My friends, when we walk allowing Jesus to hold our hand, we have the assurance that every day will be a bright bright sun shiny day. None of us have an assurance of tomorrow; it is important that we live in today. If today was your last day with sight what visual memories would you cherish forever? As I close this letter, I would like to invite you to join me in a quick spiritual adventure by closing your eyes and drinking in the words of Louis Amstrong’s, What A Wonderful World. GOD BLESS YOU ALL. Click here to listen.

What a Wonderful World

I see trees of green,

red roses too.

I see them bloom,

for me and you.

And I think to myself,

what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue,

And clouds of white.

The bright blessed day,

The dark sacred night.

And I think to myself,

What a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow,

So pretty in the sky.

Are also on the faces,

Of people going by,

I see friends shaking hands.

Saying, “How do you do?”

They’re really saying,

“I love you”.

I hear babies cry,

I watch them grow,

They’ll learn much more,

Than I’ll ever know.

And I think to myself,

What a wonderful world.

Yes, I think to myself,

What a wonderful world

“I will praise your name my king and my God!” Psalm 145

Brian Pusateri
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