Road blocks.

A road block is an event or object that makes us stop moving. A tree that has fallen across the road can be a literal road block.  So can the sarcastic comment that interrupts our train of thought, the clogged drain in the tub, and the paperwork that we didn’t expect which has to be completed by tomorrow morning.

I want to think about the value of road blocks, but I encourage you to not read this if you are currently stopped by a road block. (You’ll get frustrated).

Road blocks let us test our reactions and responses.When I get frustrated that everything is spilling some mornings, I eventually have to step back and say, “why is this bothering me so much?” It’s one reason James tells us to value the trials we face because they can, when reflected on, help us discern what is going on in our hearts.

Road blocks allow us to be creative. Some obstacles invite us to find different solutions. Zaccheus wanted to see Jesus. There were crowds. There was a tree. He climbed the tree.

Road blocks remind us to rest. I suppose this is related to the idea of reflection, but if we find ourselves frustrated or angry or overwhelmed, we may need a nap, a snack, a walk. It may not be our road black to remove. Or it may, but not now. Or it may, but tomorrow, when we’re rested.

Road blocks invite us to focus  Some obstacles remind us that what we are doing is valuable. We are invited to devote more focus to the task at hand and ignore the distractions. As Nehemiah said, “I am doing a great work. I cannot come down.”


P.S. I had the opportunity to write on our hospital blog for Pastoral Care Week: The sacred work of a hospital chaplain

3 thoughts on “Road blocks.

  1. Bill Hanifin

    Thanks for a powerful post. I was searching for a word to describe the impact it had and I heard “Gobsmacked”, which is a favorite of my UK friends. I don’t know the origin of the word, but it does seem to bring up the image of something so profound or with such import that the mental impact is similar to getting a nice cream pie in the face (common to baseball celebrations these days).

    Much better than metaphors I can come up with at the moment, I’d say that reminding us that encountering roadblocks or even “perceiving” the existence of roadblocks in our lives constitutes teachable moments for us from God. Whether we should turn over that roadblock to our Lord, take action, or just rest is something we can learn from hitting the pause button and listening for His voice.

    Thanks again. The scripture references were pointed and I will spend more time with each as the day progresses. Jon, your pen is inspired. Keep listening to Him and keep writing. It has impact.


    1. Jon Swanson

      Thanks, Bill! I love that idea of perceiving the existence. Because often we create the blocking part in our heads and hearts. Not always, not at all. But more often than I care to confess.


  2. Pingback: The Value of Road Blocks | Christianity 201

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