You might have heard about the popular Thai new year celebration, Songkran. Even though it is not what Songkran stands for, it is a water fight that comes to our mind. The original purpose of gentle water pouring on celebrants is to symbolically cleans the misfortune of the past year and have a fresh start for the new year. Through time the practice has evolved to friendly water fights. It is a common practice to fill up water barrels, load them on a pickup truck, drive around and engage in a water fight using water guns. Some wait in front of their houses and spray water on those driving around on a pickup truck using water hoses, like the boy you see in the picture. The celebration lasts three to five days.
My wife took the picture just as we left our campus. The truck nor the BIG BOYS AND GIRLS from college intimidated the little boy. He stood his ground. And if they were to fight back, he was ready for it; no clothes, NOTHING TO LOSE. He wasn’t able to spray them, but he did what he could. Unknown to him, he had at least inspired an article, THIS ARTICLE.
It made me think of the battles we engage in this life. Every time we are faced with challenges, our desire is to come out winners. But we often lose before we even start the fight because we get intimidated. Fear of failure overshadows the opportunity to try. We start focusing on the scenario of failure. We construct our hypothesis for failure consequences. "What will other think?" "I don't want my enemies to see my failure." "I don't want to fail my loved ones." We finally conclude that it is better to stay safe. "I better not try." We mis opportunities simply because we don't give them a try.
If we only do our part without worrying about the outcome, the ALMIGHTY will write a meaningful STORY out of our effort. God does not open an opportunity and watch from a distance. He will be there for us. He doesn't promise us that the opportunities He opens don't involve challenges. The opportunities often involve challenges but they are meant to give us a chance to grow, not to stop us.
The whole process of preparing the Biblical Joseph for the highest rank a stranger to land can attain in Egypt came with a lot challenges. Joseph had the privilege of learning about God from his father Jacob early on. He had a comfortable journey until his brother sold him as a slave around age seventeen (Genesis 37:1-3). Even after he became a slave, the opportunities didn't stop coming. He was sold to Potifar, an Egyptian high ranking official which meant a chance to learn the system and the language. "The LORD was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master" (Genesis 39: 2, NLT). But tragedy strikes again and he ends up in jail because of false accusation by Potifar's wife. It was a retribution for not giving in to the temptation she subjected him.
The prison, like the other experiences Joseph had, opens its own opportunity. Joseph becomes a superintendent in the prison. God would give him a gift to interpret dreams. One of those prisoners, to whom Joseph interpreted a dream that he would be reinstated to his job in the palace, finally remembers Joseph when Pharaoh had a dream nobody could decipher. Afte interpreting the kings dream and proposing a brilliant suggestions about what Egypt should do to withstand the seven years of drought that will follow the seven years of prosperity, Joseph gets promoted to second-in-command of Egypt.
The opportunities kept coming and so did the challenges. Yet the challenges didn't stop Joseph from moving forward. He consistently used the obstacles as a stepping stone to climb and access windows of opportunities. All what he needed was the uplifting presence of God by his side. Are you overwhelmed by the obstacles you see or focused on what God is capable of accomplishing through you despite your shortcomings? Remember that "with God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19: 26, NIV).
What obstacles in life were you able to overcome because you didn't give up and kept on hopping God would intervene and make a difference?
Are there challenges that you are facing now that need God's intervention? Would you like to pray for persistence?