Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC
Path BLOCKED... by God?
Updated: Oct 3, 2018
“Closed in and blocked by walls of cut stone, what paths I have left,
He has twisted and confused my steps.”
Lamentations 3:9 (The Voice)
Ever been BLOCKED by God?
If so, you know it’s not fun and definitely not a pretty season full of flowers and sunshine.
So have you? C’mon, be honest.
In my experience, a blocked path is one of the hardest roads to travel and even harder to share with others. Why? Because we don’t want to admit God is getting in our way.
It makes us feel like we’ve done something wrong or have sinned in some way to surrender the truth that God is blocking us. So most of us don’t. Instead, we as Christ-followers feel safer and more comfortable attributing our troubles to Satan or spiritual warfare. Now there are absolutely times this is the case, but not always. So we must be willing to ask God difficult questions and seek truth in our times of frustration.
For me, this past year has been a time of seeking these answers as God has literally blocked every single professional path I’ve ventured down. At times it’s been downright comical (to the point of tears) because nothing… let me say it louder, NOTHING, I have moved towards opens up. Nothing.
I’ve wrestled with so many questions this past year. “Am I hearing you wrong God in the things I’m moving towards? Is this spiritual opposition? Have I sinned in some way I’m not acknowledging?”
After months, the questions went deeper and filled with anger. “I know your voice, so why would you lead me in a direction and then slam the door in my face? If this is spiritual opposition, then why aren’t you fighting for me?” And on and on they went.
Thankfully God has been full of grace and mercy to my hurting heart and decided to speak in a way I could clearly and unmistakably hear his voice.
In the weeks leading up to the day God spoke, several doors hand painfully been shut in my face and I was exhausted and emotionally spent. It was then I decided to get out in nature and spend the day with God. It was supposed to be a perfectly beautiful, sunny day and my plan was to hike, pray, read, and be out in creation with God as I sought answers.
Leaving the house I decided to take the long way to Pere Marquette State Park by driving back roads and jumping on the ferry to cross the river. How perfect! But after driving for 45 minutes, I arrived to find the ferry closed. My destination was literally only 10 minutes across the river and instead, my path was BLOCKED.
No worries, the now 1-hour additional drive to the park was along the Great River Road. I would at least have gorgeous scenery to enjoy.
I finally arrived, grabbed a hiking map, and set off down the Goat Trail. No one was around and it was a perfect time to pray. Hiking up the narrow trail, I was looking down at my feet as I prayed these words, “Lord I just don’t understand. It feels like every path I take is blocked.” Then, at that moment, quite literally, I looked up and there in front of me on the trail was a massive boulder blocking the path.
I am not making this up! For the second time that morning my path had been BLOCKED. I wasn’t having it though, so I climbed up and over the boulder and continued down the path thinking, “How weird was that?”
After about 2 hours I finished my hike, but no major revelations came so I decided to go to a scenic overlook and read. The day was absolutely gorgeous. I had found a little bench shaded by trees and was able to look out over miles of trees and river. There could be no better place to read.
I enjoyed this for about 5 minutes before out of the clear blue sky a thunderstorm rolled in, turning the sky gray and ominous, dumping rain from the heavens. Are you kidding me? All I wanted to do was read, but again my path was BLOCKED for the third time.
I ran to my car, so disappointed in the day and decided to give up and go home. Driving out the long, winding road of the park with the storm raging around me, I noticed something in the tree canopy covering the road ahead. It was almost like something out of a scene from King Kong when he’s coming out of the jungle. The leaves and branches were shaking violently and then suddenly an enormous tree fell from the sky, landing directly in front of my car, blocking the road. It was completely impassable.
I sat there for a moment a bit stunned. If I had left 5 seconds sooner this tree would have been on top of my car. Gathering my bearings, there was nothing to do but slowly turn my car around and leave the park through the back way. For the fourth time, my path had been BLOCKED – unmistakably.
Ok, now I’m seeing the pattern. Driving home, the skies cleared so I decided to find a place to read and consider the events of the day. I found solace at a little outdoor café in Old St. Charles and opened my book. Do you want to guess the name of the chapter to which I turned? Chapter 6: The Divine Thwarter.
“Ok God, I’m listening,” was all I knew to say.
The events of that day set the stage for me to listen and seek God in a new way. I can see his loving hand leading me down a path of deeper trust with him. In his grace, God is not willing to let me settle for less than his best in this next season. So I’m waiting and listening.
Some days are hard, but I’m trying to embrace every blocked path as confirmation that there is a better path yet to be revealed.
When I stumbled across the verse above in Lamentation 3:9 I chuckled, because it perfectly illustrated the way I’ve felt all these months. “Blocked by walls of cut stone,” is definitely a perfect description. Reading further, I then came to verses that clearly described the hope I’ve been clinging to as I wait for an unblocked path to appear.
“Have courage, for the Eternal is all that I will need. My soul boasts, “Hope in God; just wait.” It is good. The Eternal One is good to those who expect Him, to those who seek Him wholeheartedly. It is good to wait quietly for the Eternal to make things right again.” (Lamentations 3:24-26, The Voice)
Yes, “the Eternal is all that I need” and I do “expect Him” to be good to me. So I am choosing to trust every blocked path as an unseen blessing and “wait quietly” for my King to reveal a clear path when the time is right.
For Your Reflection...
What path is currently being blocked in your life? Talk to God about it and ask him to shine His light on the situation. Be open to his answer being different than what you might expect.