Janie Downing gave the following inspiring devotional at NCWA’s September meeting.
Groups of four students each were scattered around the Beijing university classroom—each group intently playing “Tell Us About…” These were my Oral English students. They were to roll the dice and move their marker the number of squares indicated. Upon landing on a square, they were to tell the other students in the group about the designated topic. The prompts were simple—for example, tell us about your family. Each game board contained a few squares labeled: Question to Teacher. Upon landing on one of these, they were to raise their hand and ask me a question.
Soon a young man’s hand went up. I was stunned when he said, “I want to know how you come over bad things in your life.” I took a mental step backwards. I wasn’t allowed to discuss God in my classrooms; however, I was allowed to answer questions!
Breathing a quick prayer, I replied, “Well, first of all, the English word we would use is “overcome,” but I like the way you say it—come over. I’m a Christian, so when bad things happen in my life, I pray. Sometimes God removes them, and other times He gives me all I need in order to come over or overcome them.”
Later I pondered “come over” or overcome. A picture came to mind of a walker facing an obstacle so large it could not be circumvented. The only way to get to the other side was to go over it, but its dimensions were so enormous there seemed to be no way.
Thus far, the greatest obstacle I have faced in my life was the sudden death of my husband in 1997. I was stopped in my tracks! Fear gripped me, loneliness overwhelmed me, and numbness robbed me of the ability to proceed. I could see no way around the barrier death created.
During this time, I received a call from a Christian Brother. Speaking to me about the Children of Israel who grumbled, complained, whined and cried their way to the Promised Land, God used him to teach me a simple yet profound way to deal with life’s difficulties.
“Sis, write it down, lay hands on it, pray over it, and praise through it.”
And so it began. I wrote, laid hands on what was written, and prayed. Then I praised Him for His mercies, His faithfulness, His love, His grace, and for the difficulties!
He made a way for me to overcome!
Jesus said in John 16:33, “…in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”¹
Therein, my friend, lies the answer! It is not we who will overcome the obstacles, but it is Christ in us who has already “come over” them! You have within you all you need!
What obstacles are you facing?
1) Write them down.
2) Lay hands on them.
3) Pray over them.
4) Praise through them.
God will make a way where there seems to be no way!
Janie is a 2002 graduate of Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. She has a BA in Music and a TESL Certificate. In 2003, Janie moved to Beijing where she spent six years teaching ESL to university students. She is a singer/pianist, inspirational speaker, ESL tutor, and piano teacher. She is a member of the Evangelical Chinese Church of Tacoma and has been a member of NCWA since 2010. Click here for Janie’s website.