Potholes Required
Van Walton

"Dear…sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." James 1:2-3 (NLT)

Before moving to the warm South, complete with mild winters and smooth roads, my family lived in Wisconsin. The greatest contrast I noticed? Southern roads free from potholes.

Or so I thought.

Then one day as I sailed along a local street, my car sank into a deep hole. Water and mud splashed over the windshield and bounced off my side view mirror. The abrupt pitfall surely damaged my car. At the very least it was dirty and dented.

"Where did that come from?" I wondered. "A pothole on the streets of my fine city?"

Driving on, I considered the pothole. Every road we travel is susceptible to pothole blight. I remember my front walkway caving in and crumbling after a heavy rain washed out the ground underneath it. I've even found myself walking around muddy holes on forest paths.

Yes, every road we travel is susceptible to the pothole blight, including the road of life. God's Word guarantees it: "You will face all kinds of trouble …Your faith will be put to the test" (James 1:2b-3a, NIRV).

At one time or another, the highway on which we travel will fall out from under us. Or, if we are not personally affected by troubles, we know someone who is. Potholes are inevitable, it seems, if we're going anywhere. Consequently, we can spend much time dealing with the destruction, or rescuing others from their deep pits. Writing these words distresses me and if I were to camp on this thought, I could find myself sorely depressed.

So I drive on, focusing on God's Word. Like the dependable tow truck that fixes damaged tires or the repair shop that aligns them, God's Word assures me that falling into an abyss is not the end of the ride. Life does go on … with a high calling and meaningful purpose.

Consider these words:

"The Father of compassion and the God of all comfort…comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others …" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

"…we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair…" (2 Corinthians 4:7-8, NLT)

"…under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2-4, MSG)

And finally Isaiah 53:3a, 4a explains that the troubles our Lord Jesus suffered made us whole. He was "a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief…it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down…" (NLT)

Precious friend, are you stuck in one of life's potholes? Don't despair. You're not alone. Jesus knows. You may feel damaged, broken, or rejected but there is a high calling, a greater purpose for your troubling experiences. One day you will comfort others in their afflictions. Your light will shine on another's dark and difficult path. And when you step into eternity you will receive the crown of life.


Father, God, I have fallen into a deep hole. I am damaged, broken, and feel rejected. Please use my circumstances to strengthen me and cause me to shine so others may see Your glory. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Van’s blog

From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton describes for your children how a relationship with Jesus helps us endure troubles.

Trials for Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life by Janet Eckles

For more hope and to take a free test How Do I Know If I’m Depressed? visit God Sees You

Defeating Depression: Real Hope for Life-Changing Wholeness by Leslie Vernick

Application Steps:
Read James 1:1-18 in several Bible translations.

What troubles threaten to destroy me?

Isn't God greater than any trial that comes my way?

Can I set my mind on trusting God rather than caving to defeat, confident that today's trials strengthen me for tomorrow?

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 4:16-17, "…we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (NIV)

2 Corinthians 6:4, "In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. (NLT)

© 2010 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.

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Blogger KARUNIA said...

I don't know what's going on in my day a head but the fact I'm sure I need Him to fresh,inspire,encourage,hear my share and touch me in my heart. It's give me big impact and remind me that He always there every time I need Him. So many bigs hole I got in my life but at that moment (in my confuse pause) I remember Him... and I always say that not me to remove that prob. God, Himself will make a way or will fight in this prob. This prob. not to kill me nor to separate me from His hands/His way. Yes.. I got to face more slowly than usual at a moment but His Promise as Peace will make my mind/heart flow into bright shine and hope for great future. :-)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, so many pitfalls if not in my own life then in the lives of others. I am so glad that God is there and we can depend upon Him. Then when He gets us through the problem, we can encourage others as you said. Thanks for this encouragement.

Blogger Certain Woman said...

Thank you Van for sharing this important word of truth. I believe at times, we feel as God's Girls, we do not have to endure trials, but thank God for helping us to get through the tests! Yes, we will come out the better for it, not only for ourselves, but also to help others. Helping me to remember that our roads may incur a pothole from time to time, but that is time to praise and thank God all the more, only to be able to warn someone behind me to "look out ahead". If been there and I know that road :)! Peace and blessings to you!

Blogger horseprariechatter said...

Thank you for the reminder of potholes. I live in the northern climes with the freeze thaw weather guarantees potholes, frost heaves, really for a few months, no smooth driving. I paused when I read the verse from James 1, translated in the Message--Don't try to get out of it prematurely. Like broken bones, pulled muscles, and dented cars, healing and restoration takes time. When we rush the process we only add to the damage, and become less that what we should be. Thanks for the reminder. Praise God that He is working on perfecting me.

Blogger Robin said...

Great post. I so needed that. I feel like I have fallen into a pothole that is so deep, I can't get out. Dealing with a situation that feels like the options we have to choose from are both bad ones. Just trying to wait on God and His direction in the matter.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless you for these words. I feel so broken and rejected. Thank you for reminiding me that God knows, and he has purpose

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to thank my sister for passing along this message. I am a single mother and raising a 17 y/o girl and a 12y/o boy since they were oh so young ... Now that they have developed their own opinions and have started on their roads of life as pre adults my daughter has chosen a road that i so do not understand how she could have strayed to ... Her belief or should i say lack there of has broken my heart and with it her respect for me is nil.... I do know God is putting us through this so that maybe we can repair the damaged road and be able to get through this "pothole" and travel through to our destination.I believe in the power of prayer and am doing so! I am also in recovery from drugs and alcohol and have 3 years sober my daughter can't let go of the past and when she make mistakes it is thrown in my face she lashes out at me and pushes my buttons it is so hard to move on with the future when i am bogged down with the guilt of her throwing it in my face when she does something i don't approve of this is when she lashes out at me. We are trying to pass through a crater in the road right now and there seems no way to get over this situation that we are going through her defiance has increased and the disrespect is at an all time high. I cant seem to get through to her and al i know to do is pray.... I'm not a very good communicator and when anger overshadows my words they come out wrong and it comes off as judgment in her eyes. There is alot of guilt on my side because of the road i took. I usually deal with my kids by giving in and not discipline. Now that i am sober i have tried to change the way i dealt with it only to get resistance because they wont accept that i changed.... I guess i just need to continue what i am doing and someday my children will follow.... With the Lord on my side there is nothing that i cant endure! Thank you for the words of encouragement.. God bless Karie

Blogger Kelsie said...

Oh Karie, my heart goes out to you. I just prayed for you, my sister. May God comfort you during this trial in your life. Remember - all we're required to do is to be faithful. Trust Him with the outcome. Depend on His Strength every hour of every day. He WILL bless your efforts! Hang in there!! :-)

Blogger Van said...

Precious sisters, I know how hard the road through life is- it can be unbearable, yet God in His lovingkindness longs to walk with us and support us. Please let him. Rest in him and give your loved ones and struggles to teh Lord for He is able. Practice trusting Him with the mud, dirt, and dents in your life. Please know I am praying for each of you right now. God knows exactly what you need to come forth a a shining star in His universe. Press on for the crown.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am thanking God that those potholes don't last forever. Sometimes we feel that they will be there forever but they aren't. We must trust God not our feelings because He will bring us through.

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