Oh no! Nothing bad has happened on our trip. Larry and I are sitting in the airport at Amsterdam waiting for our flight to Athens. Then the next day we’ll head to Zakynthos (Greece) where we will spend four weeks ministering through seminars and connecting with people. We’ll be gone a total of 5 weeks and will spend the last week back in Athens to continue speaking and connecting.
But here’s what I’m nervous about. Nothing bad has happened yet. We’ve been on the road for more than 24 hours and it’s been one of the smoothest and easiest trips we’ve made. Now you understand why I’m nervous?
Or maybe you’re confused. I can understand that. So let me explain.
You’ve heard it said all the time:
- Wow, I’m having so many obstacles to leave for this trip that Satan really must not want me to go, so he knows lots of good ministry will occur.
- Wow, we are having so many problems with lining up details for this event, now we know God’s going to work powerfully.
- Wow, so many connected with this idea have been disagreeing, Satan must be trying to block us.
I’ve said those kinds of things myself.
But if these ideas are correct, then doesn’t it seem logical that if a trip or event or project goes smoothly, Satan is cheering it on…and therefore, it must not be God’s will?
Now I know these ideas really shouldn’t be framed as “all or nothing.” The truth is that good and bad, obstacles and clear sailing, can mean different things. But I’m wondering at the wisdom of making conclusions based upon those things–because that’s what we’re doing if we attribute something to Satan or to God.
I even believe that God can bring obstacles to something that He has created, designed, and intends to accomplish. It’s all in the way we define “smooth sailing” or “obstacles.”
I can’t help but think of Martha and Mary’s conclusions as Lazarus dies. Their conclusion? “Jesus doesn’t love us” and I have to believe that included “Jesus can’t heal.” We know that Mary’s belief was “You could heal him while he was sick but you can’t heal him now that he’s dead.”
But Jesus just had a different plan that wasn’t “smooth sailing” yet gained greater glory for His Father and Himself. But to get there, the ultimate “obstacle” of death or “Satan’s work” had to happen.
I hate to say it but I think we should be more careful attributing an obstacle to Satan or smooth sailing to God. And I think we should be careful attributing an obstacle to God and smooth sailing to Satan.
We just don’t really know for sure.
What do you think?
(While we’re overseas, my time may be limited for posting on my blog, so please forgive me that I’ve pre-scheduled vignettes and excerpts from our book Never Ever Be the Same. I’m not just trying to promote the book (well, maybe I’m doing that too!). I’m trying to make sure I have posts to share with you while we’re gone).