The other night, a large pine tree fell over, crashing into an oak tree and creating a jumbled mess that completely blocked one of our primary roads. In the morning, when people on their way to work or the boat came across the unpassable pile of debris, they experienced the hassle of needing to detour approximately 1 ½ miles to get around the blockage. When driving in electric golf carts with limited speed and range, that extra distance can be a significant hassle.
What most people who came along the blockage didn’t realize was that there was a third tree involved in the initial collision. Another large pine tree had snapped and was also leaning across the road, except this one was caught up on the limb of an oak tree approximately 20’ over the road. From a distance, it simply looked like a part of the tree canopy that covered the road. Only upon closer inspection did one realize that this was a life-threatening hazard that could come crashing down on the road at any minute. Had the other trees not thoroughly blocked the road, several people would have driven right underneath this hazard, oblivious to the fact that they were in serious danger. The drivers on the road that morning experienced the hassle, not realizing that they were spared from the hazard.
God does this to us all the time, throwing up road blocks not to annoy us, but to protect us. How many times do we read about people who drive around road blocks that were put up because of rising floodwaters, only to have their cars swept away? We are a stubborn people, and sometimes we need the road blocked so completely that there is no way that we can get around, lest we stumble into a hazard that could cost us dearly.
It is our nature to grumble and complain when we experience a hassle. We have our plans, and we don’t like being inconvenienced. Seldom do we respond to a hassle with a prayer of thanksgiving, yet that may well be the most appropriate response. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him”, the “all things” includes roads blocked by fallen trees. The hassles that we face represent things through which God has been working to bring about our benefit. If we are stubborn, we try to find ways around the hassle and we deny ourselves His blessing. However, if we pause for a moment, and perhaps even look towards heaven, we might see the larger picture and understand that the hassle is itself a blessing from God, meant for our benefit to spare us from the hazards that await.
How will you respond to the hassles that you face today?
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron