Using Stumbling Blocks as Stepping Stones

In today’s reflection, I inspire us to use stumbling blocks as stepping stones.

Have you observed how trickles of water flow from rocks in a creek? The water follows different paths but merges into a spring, a lake, a river, or an ocean. For the most part, the water flows through rough and twisted tracks.

You will observe that as the water trickles from the rock, it bypasses the stumbling blocks, those rocks or pieces of wood that stand in the way. Though the rocks or wood remain stationary, they do not stop the stream from flowing. Instead, the stream’s navigation is made even more colorful and scenic as it flows around the stumbling blocks.

Learning from the Stream’s Navigation

One may learn from the navigation of streams the secret to thriving amidst stumbling blocks. Often, people are concerned they have few opportunities to succeed due to stumbling blocks along the way. It appears that in living God’s Word in particular, there are many stumbling blocks. Some wonder how to deal with this reality.

A man once complained that there was no sense of spiritual direction in his parish and that anyone who tried to help fan the flame of divine love and service was opposed by people who felt they owned the parish.

Some people say they can’t seem to see the end of the tunnel. They forget that the end of the tunnel only yields insight when we are close to it. Until then, it seems the way is unattainable.

How about seeing stumbling blocks as pieces of wood in the path of flowing water? Fortunately, those stumbling blocks are opportunities for the beautiful scenic road to become fruitfulness in service.

Right from the time of the New Testament until now, no work of evangelization, work of charity, or act of faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has been without stumbling blocks. For example, read Acts of the Apostles 13:44–46. The jealousy, backbiting, and opposition against Paul and Barnabas during their first missionary journey warrants them to reroute and channel their mission to the gentiles. Also, the Lord tells the disciples that when they are persecuted in one place to move to another (see Matthew 10:23).


When the Door Closes

You may have heard the saying that when one door closes, another opens. For the believer, there are no closed doors. Instead, there are paths to better doors. There are many doors out there for you to find peace and joy. There are many doors out there beckoning your service. Do not be stuck or allow yourself to be held hostage by the roadblocks of naysayers.

Hear the apostles speak about their change of plans: “The word of God needed to be spoken first to you. Since you reject it and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we are now turning to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:44–46).

Don’t you realize that a stumbling block on your path to doing God’s will doesn’t mean the end of the road? It merely means there are many other alternatives, even better alternatives you wouldn’t otherwise know.

Look and See

Great evangelizers love stumbling blocks, not that they seek them out. Instead, they dare them, look them straight in the eye, and walk past them. They look with the eyes of faith.

Also, true believers overcome roadblocks. Roadblocks don’t deter them. The saints cherish roadblocks because, through them, the limits of their courage and vision to be the best God has called them to be expand.

Therefore, do not lament an unsuccessful attempt. Do not lie down and throw a pity party. Do not act the victim. Look and see: God is calling you to reroute to the path you need most now. Refocus. See the road. Follow it.

I pray that we let God to lead us to better ways of doing His will. May we see what God wants to show us in the stumbling blocks and discover a better path to blessings. Amen.

[Readings: Acts 13:44–52; John 14:7–14]

Fr. Maurice Emelu

Fr. Maurice Emelu

Father Maurice Emelu, Ph.D., is a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Orlu in Nigeria and the Founder of Gratia Vobis Ministries. An assistant professor of communication (digital media) at John Carroll University, USA, Father Maurice is also a theologian, media strategist, and digital media academic whose numerous works appear on television networks such as EWTN. As he likes to describe himself; “I am an African priest passionately in love with Christ and his Church.”

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