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You’ve Hit a Roadblock…Now What?

When God says “stop,” he doesn’t always mean “quit”
Image: Revell

Have you ever come to a roadblock in your ministry or job and wondered why God would lead you along so clearly only to bring you to a sudden standstill? That’s happened to me many times as I’ve followed His leading and then gotten confused when I felt Him say stop.

Wait a second, Lord. I thought you said we were going from A to Z, and we’re only on M! Is this where I’m supposed to quit and move on to something else? This makes no sense!

Recently, when I came to a stop sign that’s in an odd place along the country road near my house, I was reminded of those confusing moments in life. That sign seems to make no sense either. It is placed on the road where a smaller lane “Ts” into it—a lane that is seldom used, and has its own stop sign for drivers to give way to the larger road. For about ten years, we drove through that tiny intersection without a stop sign there, and without any incident to warrant one being installed.

And then one day, there it was. A big, red stop sign with flags and a blinking light atop it to alert drivers to its new placement. I personally ran that stop sign about twenty-five times out of sheer habit. And each time I’d curse its meaningless existence. There was never any intersecting traffic and it was such an annoyance! (Insert angry muttering here.)

Finally, it occurred to me that the stop sign was not really intended to protect drivers at that intersection. No, it was actually to get drivers to bring their cars to a halt so they would proceed with caution through the next stretch of road.

You see, right after the stop sign is a dangerous curve that leads to a bridge. Every month there is at least one new accident at that spot, caused by speeding drivers who can’t make the sharp turn in time. By the time they reach the curve they can’t slow down fast enough to avoid taking out the rails. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen tow trucks hauling wrecked cars away from that location.

At first the city tried reflective stripes on the guardrails, but there were still too many accidents. Then they installed blinking yellow lights around the curve. No improvement. Then they tried a yellow caution sign with a squiggly arrow. Cars continued to plunge though the barrier.

Finally, someone must have had an idea. “If we put a stop sign well ahead of the danger, drivers will come to a halt, assess the situation, and proceed with caution around the curve.”

Brilliant. Accidents at the curve have been greatly reduced simply because coming to a stop ahead of time makes drivers aware of what’s around and ahead of them.

Maybe you’re at a personal “stop sign” and are wondering why God has placed it in your life when He has clearly shown you the direction He wants you to go. Instead of quitting or pouting or throwing a fit, perhaps you should consider that His purpose may simply be for you to stop long enough to gather wisdom, get the lay of the land, look around, and move forward slowly. He knows that the path ahead gets tricky, and by briefly arresting your speed, He is giving you a chance to get your bearings…and trust His leading. Sometimes it takes a “stop” to get us to pay attention.

Look. Listen. Take note of what’s ahead…and proceed with caution.

Excerpted from The Beauty of Grace. Copyright © 2015 by Dawn Camp. Used by permission of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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