The old black and white photograph shows me, not more than two years old, with an open-end crescent wrench in my hand. My dad stretches over the fender of the family car and tinkers with the engine. I stand on tip toes, his ready assistant.
As soon as I could crawl, I could be found not far from my dad’s side. I was his shadow –– a miniature version. I learned how to do many handy things while I tagged along and watched him. I learned to change an automobile’s oil, cut lumber with a hand saw, and perfect my swing of a hammer. I also learned to anticipate his needs, partly because it was a life lesson Dad deemed I learn, but also because my dad spoke little because of his stuttering.
It is thought that a stutter is connected to experiences. Childhood trauma and anxiety from stressful encounters with adults can impede speech development.
Dad’s speech impediment plagued him from childhood. He was raised malnourished and was abused by the adults in his life. Extreme poverty forced him to work picking cotton before he was 12, and he found himself loading goods aboard cargo ships on the docks of New Orleans by the time he was 16. Out of his adversity, he learned that hard work was invaluable in putting food in his stomach. His work ethic would be a key to helping him unlock the door of opportunity despite his disability.
Dad also taught me the importance of having the right tool for the job. I have a number of his tools in my garage and still fall back to one of his old tool boxes to find just the right one for the job at hand.
Dad lived by never backing down from a challenge. He turned things that may have been insurmountable for some into hurdles looked upon from life’s rearview mirror. He was a man who chose to see the glass half full and not half empty.
Most would agree, challenges are often opportunities in disguise. As believers, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Scripture confirms that after the weeping, “joy comes with the morning.”
We also understand that opportunities conversely bring obstacles. In fact, scripture teaches that with every God opportunity, there will be challenges –– at times perilous and foreboding.
Oh, the joy of freedom! The Israelites no longer suffered Egyptian bondage. They were heading “to a land flowing with milk and honey” –– what opportunity!
Joshua and Caleb were part of a team who were given the task of scouting out the “Promised Land.” After a 40-day venture through Canaan, the explorers reported, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.”
The report was frightening to those who heard it. Fear of “what if?” took hold, and the crowd balked. “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’”
But the Israelites turned away and wandered in the wilderness for 40 more years. God opportunities demand of us a faith that, despite the obstacles, seizes what has been laid out before us.
So, what is it in your life that is preventing you from moving forward? Despite your challenges and fears, turn your heart toward God. Seek Him first setting your eyes on where He says to go and embracing His promises. Claim your future!