Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Track star Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics, but to get there she had to overcome enormous hurdles. Stricken with scarlet fever at the age of 4, she lost the use of her left leg and had to learn to walk again when she was 7.

Tim Hansel wrote about overcoming obstacles in his 1987 publication, Holy Sweat:

In 1962, Victor and Mildred Goertzel published a revealing study of 413 "famous and exceptionally gifted people" called Cradles of Eminence. They spent years attempting to understand what produced such greatness, what common thread might run through all of these outstanding people's lives.

Surprisingly, the most outstanding fact was that virtually all of them, 392, had to overcome very difficult obstacles in order to become who they were.

While most people would like to live a life without the inconveniences of struggles, obstacles are necessary on any road to success. "Easy living" makes us lazy. It keeps us from appreciating blessings. Hard times are benchmarks in our progress. They are, as the poem goes, the footprints in the sand that remind us of the loving care of God who never gives up on us.

If you were to honestly look back on your life and ask yourself when you felt the closest to God, I think that you will find it was when you overcame something with His help. It was an illness that God helped you get through, or perhaps poverty, stress, or marriage/family trouble. It may have simply been a time of isolation when you realized that God was the only sure and constant thing at all.

I have witnessed that on many occasions, people deny the Lord in "good times." I have experienced that some people are completely unreachable with the gospel when they have no visible obstacles to overcome. But a death, a divorce, a difficult personal problem, these often present the obstacle that is needed for people to finally realize that they cannot get through life without God.

The next time you see an obstacle, don't worry. It may be your greatest opportunity for success. Christ proved this truth when He died on the cross. The greatest victories are found in what we overcome.

"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10

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