Only an “Obstacle” Illusion

I love to hear words children use and things they say. Our neighbors in Illinois were Catholic. When my daughter, Hannah, was young, she would always tell me things her friend Meredith said about the “nums.” The “nums?” I wondered. It took me a while to figure out she meant “nuns.”

When Hannah was very young, she said to me one day, “Mom, you’re getting on my nerds.”

A neighbor girl was singing in the back of the car, “Crazy the Lord, hallelujah; crazy the Lord, hallelujah.” Her Mom said, “Allison, I think that’s supposed to be ‘praise ye the Lord, hallelujah’ not ‘crazy the Lord.’ ” Allison tried her best to get the words right. Finally, she said, “Mom, I like my way better,” and she went back to her version of the song.

I bought Hannah a small bank at a yard sale when she was about seven or eight. You put the coin in, but then it disappears. I knew she would love it. I gave it to her and showed her how it worked. She said, “Mom, this is so cool. It is an obstacle illusion.” I was about ready to correct her to say it was an optical illusion. Then I thought about what she said. I liked those two words put together—obstacle illusion. How many times have I stumbled on a problem, an obstacle, that consumes my life only to find out it was not really an obstacle at all? It was only an obstacle illusion.

It was the greatest obstacle faced by the disciples. Jesus was beaten by Roman soldiers and then forced to carry His own cross. A crown of thorns was pressed on His head. Nails were driven into His hands and feet. The cross was lifted and dropped into a hole in the ground. They watched Jesus endure excruciating pain and then die. With His agonizing death went the hope and dreams of His followers.

Here’s the thing. The tomb was not an obstacle. It was only an obstacle illusion. Death could not defeat Him. It had no mastery over Him. The burial chamber could not hold Him. He proved victorious over the grave. As the hymn of old says, “I serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today.” That same resurrection power has given us victory over death. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.


Sometimes we are stuck on Friday playing a loop of despair over and over again. Get our attention. Shake the ground beneath us. Give us vision to look beyond the obstacles to see Your hand at work in the world. Your victory is our victory. Help us live day by day in the glory and wonder and beauty of resurrection Sunday. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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