Carl will not move. He has perched himself in between the back room and the hallway. I am holding the gate open for him to move forward, but he refuses to move his body out of the way so that I can let the gate go back into position. Finally, I let the gate go and he retreats back behind it. Knowing that a treat will be the only thing to get him to move, I go into the kitchen, dip my hand into the bag of treats, and make my way back to where I have left him. Once he sees the treat, he quickly moves into the hallway and I can close the gate.
I can’t help but giggle under my breath when I think of Carl’s behavior. We all act like Carl at times and refuse to budge over issues in our own lives. Sometimes, we stop because we refuse to listen to reason but there are other times when God causes us to stop. I have often thought about how God designs our steps but just recently started thinking about how God can also design our stops.
I used to become upset if I was rejected for a position or an opportunity, but lately I have been asking God for insight on why He has stopped my forward motion. One great example of this comes in Numbers 22. Balaam, a sorcerer has been hired by the enemies of Israel to go and curse Israel. So one morning, Balaam gets on his donkey and rides out to complete his mission. As he rides along, the donkey sees the Angel of the Lord with a drawn sword standing in his path and stops in his tracks. Balaam doesn’t understand why the donkey has stopped and hits him to make him move. The donkey knows he can’t get by the Angel so he presses his body up against a wall, crushing Balaam’s leg. Balaam begins giving the donkey a beating and then the donkey turns toward Balaam and begins talking to him. He tells him that he has been a faithful donkey and he would move if he could but he can’t. At this point, God opens Balaam’s eyes and he sees the Angel of the Lord standing with his sword drawn.
Another example comes in Acts 16:6,7 when Paul wants to lead his missionary team into Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit would not permit them to do so. It is easy to understand why God would stop Balaam from going to curse the Israelites but it is not so easy to understand why God would stop Paul from preaching the Gospel in Bithynia. Whatever the reason, God did stop Paul and He will also stop us. Even when we think it is for our good, don’t be surprised when God halts your plans. As you are going through the detour that He has created, don’t ponder too long on the stops he has placed in your path. Instead, spend more time thinking about the blessings that you are experiencing because of the stops. And as for Carl, he is back behind the gate crying for me. So I guess I need to get some treats and coax him out once again.