Have you ever gone after something that you thought was the will of God for your life only to find out that obstacles seem to keep you from doing what you thought God wanted you to do? If you have, you need not feel alone because many of us have been in the very same place. Even the apostle Paul felt this way from time to time. In 1 Thessalonians 2:18, the apostle Paul said, "Wherefore, we would have come to you even I Paul once and again, but Satan hindered us."
So, what should you do in times like these? I want you to particularly notice the word hindered in that verse. It comes from a Greek word that was originally used to describe a road so deteriorated and broken up that it was impassable. It means to cut in two; to impede.
When I was a kid, I had a friend who lived down a dirt road that was almost impassable after we received a hard rain. The road was too full of deep ruts and holes to continue our journey. As a result, we would have to turn around and go back or find another mode of transportation to get to where we wanted to go. Well, that is exactly the image the word hindered portrays to us. Paul used this word to describe hindering forces that kept him from going to see the Thessalonians. There is no doubt that this means that Paul was on his way to see them, not once, but twice, but the journey became so filled with danger and unexpected bumps that he had to turn around and go back and rethink his strategy on how he was going to get to the church at Thessalonica.
I am sure that you can think of a time when you encountered something like this on your journey, but the Greek word that is used here means even more than this. It was also used in ancient times in an athletic sense. It was used to portray the moment when a runner comes along side another runner and literally elbows him out of the race. Although the second runner was running a good race, he is shoved out of the way by the aggression of his fellow runner. As a result of this action, the runner who was elbowed losses the winning edge he previously held.
This means that Paul really understood Satan's tactics. The enemy had tried to make use of dangerous and unexpected bumps along the way to throw Paul off track and to elbow him out of his spiritual race. In fact, Paul was convinced that Satan had specifically orchestrated these unforeseen and unanticipated hassles to keep him from getting to the church at Thessalonica. When these two ideas are combined together the primary idea of the word hindered becomes that of an impasse so severe that it prohibits you from going where you need to go, or of an aggressor who unkindly elbows you off course in your spiritual race.
When something happens that seems to keep you from doing the will of God remember that you are not the first to encounter such difficulties. Others have been in the same predicament. In time, however; the devil's attacks ceased and the way for them to move ahead became clear. In the same way, you can be sure that God is going to empower you and give you the wisdom you need to get you where you need to go. Don't give up! It ain't over until God says it's over. Don't throw in the towel just because you run up on some kind of problem. The devil has never had the last word on anything; and he is not going to have the last word on this situation either. Regardless of what the devil has tried to do, it is time for you to remember that what God has promised shall come to pass as you hold fast to your faith in Him.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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