Ryan Holiday is the author of a book titled: “The Obstacle Is The Way”
“There is an old Zen story about a king whose people had grown soft and entitled. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs, he hoped to teach them a lesson. His plan was simple; He would place a large boulder in the middle of the main road, completely blocking entry into the city. He would then hide nearby and observe their reactions.
How would they respond? Would they band together to remove it? Or would they get discouraged, quit, and return home?
With growing disappointment, the king watched as subject after subject came to this impediment and turned away. Or, at best, tried halfheartedly before giving up. Many openly complained or cursed the king or bemoaned the inconvenience, but none managed to do anything about it.
After several days, a lone peasant came along on his way into town. He did not turn away. Instead he strained and strained, trying to push it out of the way. Then an idea came to him; He scrambled into the nearby woods to find something he could use for leverage. Finally, he returned with a large branch he had crafted into a lever and deployed it to dislodge the massive rock from the road.
Beneath the rock were a purse of gold coins and a note from the king, which said:
“The Obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.”
As Susan Perlman in an article she wrote for “Jews for Jesus” publication said:
“One might ask, “What do we need pain for? Couldn’t we accomplish the same things with pleasure?”
The answer has to be that in pleasure we focus on ourselves and our feelings and our perceptions, which makes us to be mindful of ourselves and our will to be pleased; whereas pain helps us to focus outside of ourselves, to reach beside ourselves, to find out what’s there. Pleasure tends to make one self-centered, whereas pain tends to make a more noble person, other-centered and, hopefully God-centered.
A crisis becomes an occasion for declension or advance. A self-centered person in a crisis can become more self-centered and wallow in self-pity. God-centered or God-seeking persons can be propelled forward in their quest for meaning.
It is important to know that we are not helpless and we are not hopeless. We can choose to decide how we will deal with pain. We cannot choose whether or not we will have pain, but we can decide whether or not we will ALLOW PROBLEMS TO AFFECT US.
To live is to endure the pressures of life. But we can decide if we are going to let these things press us down or if we are going to let them lift us up.”
David Aikman wrote a book titled” GREAT SOULS” and in it he writes:
“I have always personally been inspired by the lives of great people. It is hard not to be energized by the stories of how individuals have risen above adversity or suffering or have maintained a purity in the face of great temptation. Our age, with its habit of instantly judging a man or woman’s life based on the fragmentary and proverbial sound bite, is often impatient with detail, nuances, depth.”
Chuck Swindoll writes about Joseph:
“Here is one on the list of God’s “greats”…….a life lived for His glory and, equally significant, though he was terribly mistreated, lived high above the all-too-common reactions of rage, resentment, and revenge. Here is one who deliberately chose to overlook unfair offenses, to overcome enormous obstacles, and model a virtue that is fast becoming lost in our hostile age – forgiveness.”
At the outset, Joseph’s life showed little promise – a simple shepherd, twelfth of thirteen children, a dreamer hated by his brothers. So how did he become a man so extraordinary that Moses spent almost fourteen chapters in the Book of Genesis telling his story? Where did Joseph get the qualities of integrity, leadership, and godliness in such measure that they took him from the pit of slavery to prime minister of Egypt?”
• God explained dreams
• Revealed the future
• Saved Egypt and Israel from starvation
• Demonstrates the depth of love God has for all of us.
Paul is right:
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, not height not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.