My obstacles are stepping stones, not stopping stones
"Be very careful, then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." - Ephesians 5:15-18.
There is no page in the Bible that you will find a passage that says life will have no struggle or pain because simply put, struggles are inevitable and must be endured. However, there is a Creator that allows for all to lean on him for help.
At the recently-held 15th staging of the Central Jamaica Youth Leadership breakfast at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, Minister of the Kitson Town Baptist Church in St Catherine Reverend Norva Rodney, reminded the young people that no matter their circumstances, all hope is never lost.
"Life is about the art of living with things that are less than perfect; with things which are often impossible to explain. The fact is that ever since Adam and Eve acted in a representative capacity and disobeyed the divine mandate, all creation has been plummeted into a dark abyss of imperfection. The perfection of paradise, as depicted in the creation narratives, has been replaced by the brokenness, ugliness and raw expressions of mankind's inhumanity towards each other."
He said these obstacles, born out of our own innate desires, now manifest themselves in many ways: greed, injustice, violence and misplaced priorities which negatively impact our health, general well-being. But, there is hope.
"Thankfully, we do not have to be of the same spiritual conviction to share this common reality; that while we live in an imperfect world, our sensibilities are inclined towards hope and faith in a Supreme Being. Amid all imperfections, God remains unchanged. Our shared conviction is that God allows evil, not so that we may be destroyed, but that through them, we might be drawn closer to God in an abiding and wholesome faith relationship."
To the over 500 youth leaders from institutions across Manchester, St Elizabeth, Clarendon, Trelawny and St Ann present, Reverend Rodney said, "It is this conviction that has made the difference between those who have succumbed to the debilitating potential of obstacles and those who have successfully navigated the threats to life. It is an amazing paradox that it's often out of the very culture of imperfection and our struggles against obstacles, we come to discover the wisdom and the power of God.
"My friends, we do not have to curse God because obstacles exist; instead we can trust God to show us how to treat with them."
He ended with words of power and authority, encouraging every individual present to take charge of their lives and live positively despite the challenges that exist.
"Young people, you cannot afford to just go with the flow! God is demanding of you to go counter to the prevailing culture! Swim upstream! Strain your moral and spiritual nerves at discerning and disciplining yourselves to think straight and live right!"