The Obstacle Complex

During the Civil War, Admiral Dupont failed to take his fleet of battleships into Charleston Harbor, and gave a dozen exCharleston-Harborcellent reasons why.

Admiral Farragut listened patiently to the recital.

“But there is another reason you have not yet mentioned,” he replied.

“What is that?” questioned Admiral Dupont.

The answer came: “You did not believe you could do it.”1

Emerson said, “They conquer who believe they can.”2

In Numbers 13, ten of the twelve men who spied out the land of promise reported,

“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants), and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (vv.31 and 33).

One writer said, “They were victims of the obstacle complex.”3 

Norman Vincent Peale said, “I turned to the dictionary for the definition of the word ‘giant,’ and this is what I read – ‘an imaginary being of a great size.’

“They conquer who believe they can.”Note the important word in that definition. After all, a giant, including the giant obstacle that keeps you from the Promised Land of prosperity and happiness, is most of him imaginary.

Take a good look at your chief difficulty, and see if it is not weak and harmless.”4

When over three million people in Holland were fighting for their freedom from tyranny, William of Orange, a man who feared God, was their leader.
In the heat of one battle, a general asked if he had succeeded gaining the support of any foreign power, such as France or England.

He replied, “You ask me whether I have made a treaty with any great foreign power. I have. When I undertook to achieve freedom, I made a close alliance with the King of kings, and I doubt not that He will give us the victory!”5

“Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?” (Frank Scully).6

Copyright © 2015 D & L Publications, All rights reserved.


  1. The Teen Teacher, Vol. XXIII, January, February, March, 1954, No. 1, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO, p. 53.
  2. Ibid
  3. Norman Vincent Peale, You Can Win, Garden City Books, Garden City, New York, Copyright 1938, p. 83.
  4. Ibid, p. 83.
  5. The Teen Teacher, Vol. XXIII, April, May, June, 1954, No. 2, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, Mo., p. 34.
  6. Christian Clippings, October, 1997.