Me: Howdy Prodigal! That is a nice castle.
Prodigal: Yes, I have been trying to get inside all day long. This castle has so many barriers though. It has a moat, walls, and these towers.
Me: When you put it that way, I see a lot of barriers too.
Prodigal: It is also discouraging me at the moment.
Me: Well I have a story that can help with discouragement of barriers.
David Jeremiah discusses Paul and his barriers in the book Turning Toward Joy
Paul viewed his imprisonment as the removal of barriers to the gospel in Rome. As Paul looks back over these events…he stresses the masses of dark threads that the recent years had woven into the pattern of his life…the animosities and bodily pains, the lies, misrepresentations and deceitfulness, the miscarriage of justice, the chains…the mental turmoil of appealing to Caesar against his own people, the nearness of death and the loss of hope, the triumph of wickedness and the continued suppression of the truth. He invites us to take these things and look them in the face, for it is these which have resulted-contrary to what their surface appearance might have suggested–in the progress of the Gospel.
How could this happen? Is this even true? How could so many events that would seem like life was going all wrong turn out to progress the Gospel? When we progress the Gospel doesn’t it mean that it should be filled with everybody happy, welcoming you with smiles. That everybody thinks you are wonderful in all that you do? Maybe as you progress the Gospel, it is a little discouraging but it is not to the nearness of death and we would never lose hope. So how does this all make any sense?
It makes sense because Jesus is the son of God and if he has defeated death, then what limit is their to His power? To Him the ability to turn the most hopeless discouraged situation into something beautiful is not out of His reach.
Some of you need this word today, to have the faith to make it through this next hour. Hold on to that power of Jesus. We need to hold on to Jesus to make it. Hold on to see how he will turn this all over to glorify Himself and grow you closer to Him.
I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.
Jennifer Van Allen