I’m no stranger to obstacles. I have faced many of them at various points in my life. But what happens when those obstacles become the source of laughter for your enemies and frustration for you? 


When people dismiss or belittle us, it’s easy to feel discouraged and angry. We start questioning our abilities, doubting our potential, or even worse, wondering if God even cares due to what feels like Him giving us the silent treatment.


During those moments of doubt, we must find the strength within ourselves to rise above. To silence the laughter of our haters with our determination and resilience. It may not be easy, but nothing truly worthwhile ever is.


I can’t help but think about the story of Jericho. You can read more about this in Joshua 6 but the CliffsNotes version is that God told Joshua he was going to give them the city of Jericho. God told Joshua to march around the city for six days and not speak to each other. Then, on the seventh day, they were told to march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the city is yours to take.


I would have loved to have seen the looks on the faces of the army as Joshua explained this strategy in how they were going to conquer Jericho. Their whole strategy relied on walking around the city in silence and not speaking until Joshua commanded them to shout on the seventh day after they circled the city seven times. 


I don’t know about you, but my initial reaction after hearing Joshua’s strategy would have been bewilderment and asking Joshua, “ Are you serious? This can’t be the game plan.” Then, I would have shared all of my concerns. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Armies are accustomed to fighting, not marching around in silence (Josh 6:10). the other part of my concern would have come from my desire to keep my pride intact.


Whenever I read this story, I always picture the people inside the walls of Jericho pointing and laughing and making jokes about the Israelites. I’m pretty sure we can all agree that this is not the type of strategy we would expect an army to perform to win their battle. 


Have you ever thought about how pride is a major theme of this story? If the Israelites were too afraid to follow Joshua’s instructions for fear of what others, in this case the residents of Jericho, thought about them, they would have missed out on conquering Jericho. 


On the other hand, the residents inside Jericho were so prideful that they dismissed the Israelites’ ability to conquer them. They were not operating in stealth mode. The Israelites did not wait until nighttime to take the city by storm using the element of surprise. Instead, God put the Israelites on display for everyone to see as they silently marched around the city. Can you imagine how strange it must have been to see an army marching around in a circle in silence?


Satan goes out of his way to use laughter to deter us from obeying God. The very thought of someone laughing at us or people actually laughing at us may cause us to feel embarrassed for doing what we know in our hearts God wants us to do.


Satan wants to make us feel embarrassed so we can embrace the emotion of inferiority and become so paralyzed that we stay in the prison we created for ourselves. We tell ourselves, “Well, I don’t want people laughing at me. I want people to take me seriously, so I better not do anything at all.” That’s why Satan goes out of his way to use embarrassment as a tactic to persuade us NOT to follow God. Satan knows that we don’t want to destroy our fragile egos.

Speaking from personal experience, I’ve definitely had to place my pride on God’s altar. For the past three years, I’ve been living out the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18 who was trying to get justice. If you want more details, check out the show notes, but here’s the CliffsNotes version. I was the victim of a full gut rehab scam. I was sold a home that does not have a heating system and a defective ceiling.


God placed it on our hearts to represent ourselves in this lawsuit. After all, it’s very easy to see if we’re lying about the situation–you can’t make up not having a heating system or the fact that there is a defect in our ceiling. We’ve offered the defense attorneys plenty of chances to see for themselves, and they refuse to do so because they know we are telling the truth and don’t want to lose to a pro se. For more details: Check out the Hustle in Faith website and episode Ep. 207 How Can We Protect Home Buyers From Being Scammed?

Anyway, I see why God had us represent ourselves. We’ve seen firsthand how corrupt the legal system is, and He even allowed us to expose it by removing some of the people involved in our case. We are literally in a David and Goliath situation. It’s us armed with faith and truth against a bunch of demons. My mom and I didn’t ask to be in this situation, but God had other plans. I take comfort in knowing David won, and I will too, provided I remain in faith.

Quite frankly, when this is all over, I can’t wait to share this story with you. This would make an awesome movie about faith. I’m creative, but not this creative. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Again, people may not think our decision to represent ourselves was wise, but we did what we believed God wanted us to do. 


Most people would think we’re crazy and laugh at us for representing ourselves against all these affluent defense attorneys. I want you to always remember that laughter tends to be a defense mechanism for people when ignorance or pride prevents them from understanding why someone made a particular decision. Especially if someone’s decision goes against what people think or believe should have been that person’s decision. All I can say is people laughed at Christ. Nathanael even asked a condescending question about Christ by saying,  “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” 


People looked down on Nazareth. Nazareth wasn’t anything special. Many would never associate the Messiah, who would ultimately save the world, would come from such a lowly town as Nazareth. I’m sure when He died on the cross, people probably said, “I thought He was going to save the world.” It should go without saying that, obviously, Christ has the last laugh in this scenario. This should serve as a reminder that God has a way of choosing the most unlikely people, places, or things as the resource for answering our prayers.


However, we will never be in a position to realize this if we embrace Satan’s preconceived ideas about a situation. If we don’t guard our minds, Satan will place preconceived ideas in our heads and tell us that if we do this or that, they are going to laugh at us because of XYZ.  Do not listen nor allow those negative thoughts, ideas, or suggestions to roam free in your mind. Satan plants the seed that we will be embarrassed as a way to deter us from doing anything. He doesn’t want us to react and do what God wants us to do. Satan knows that when we reject fear and allow our faith to take over, we are unstoppable. The outcome will always be a win in our favor because God is not mocked (Gal 6:7).


Sadly, many people are defeated because they refuse to swallow their pride and seek God’s help. I’m a firm believer that God places people in our lives for a reason, even if it is just for a season. This person could be in your life to help you increase your knowledge in a certain area; it could be for words of encouragement that will help propel you to the next level, and the list goes on. 


Just a quick side note: I’ve been teaching English to adults overseas for a long time. One of my favorite people that I thoroughly enjoy speaking to is Yulious. He’s from Austria, and quite frankly, he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I am proud and honored to call him my friend. In fact, we just celebrated 10 years of friendship this year. We recently had a conversation, and he just spoke life into my life. 


He dropped so many gems during our conversation that I can’t share them all due to time constraints, but the sentence that really touched my heart was that you are authentic and light. People need you. It was like he knew the exact words to say to me at the precise time. Yulious had no way of knowing that I was feeling overwhelmed because of all the hats I’m currently attempting to wear at this point in time in my life. 


Had I felt embarrassed, I could have said, “I’m good,” and easily dismissed his kindness, which I would never do because he’s just an awesome person. Again, my point is if I had preconceived ideas, I would never be open to the fact that I needed him to share those words with me at that particular moment in time. Don’t dismiss people because they may be younger than you, you may think that they are smarter than you, or worse, you’re jealous of them, so you may be holding onto lies, thinking that this person who is trying to help you is out to get you. 


This is where discernment comes into play, okay? Some people may not want to see you shine, but contrary to popular belief, not everyone is out to get you. There are still some decent people that exist in this world who want to see you win. I know because I’m one of them. I can rattle off a list of amazing people I’m very blessed to have in my life that cause me to feel this way. 


Look at things from the right perspective. I tell people all the time that age is nothing but a number. Let’s say that you’re older, but you see someone younger who can help you in an area you’re weak in. Please don’t allow embarrassment or pride to keep you from getting the knowledge God wants you to have. Instead, say to yourself, “I’m going to learn as much as I can from this person.” 


Don’t get stuck on the vessel God is using, but the message He is sharing with you. Some of us may be waiting on prayers to get answered all because we’re looking in the wrong direction or fail to hear the answer because it didn’t come the way we expected or wasn’t shared by the “right person.”


We must be diligent in ensuring that we are willing to surrender our pride, obey God, and let the chips fall where they may. If we continue to keep this in our minds, the embarrassment and frustration we once felt will turn into triumph. Every obstacle becomes a stepping stone towards our goals. We become the architects of our own success, shaping our destinies despite the haters.


When we face adversity, we have to have faith that God’s got us. No matter what others say, as long as we focus on Him, we are capable of greatness. Trust every setback is an opportunity for growth. The thought of someone laughing or actually laughing at you should motivate you to prove yourself right. The focus should not be on proving them wrong. In fact, let ‘em laugh.


Keep going, keep pushing forward, and one day, you’ll look back and realize that overcoming adversity was the catalyst for your greatest achievements. No matter what obstacle you are facing, regardless of who may or may not be laughing at you, you have the power to rise above and achieve greatness.

Rising Above: Triumph Over Adversity