When we are trying to serve the Lord, we can sometimes find ourselves up against different forms of opposition. For example, some people seem barbed in how they relate to us, and others just get in the way.
Whenever opposition happens, it is helpful to consider what is really happening, and why. There can be many reasons for it.
For example, if we are starting a new congregation, but doing so with insensitivity to others, we could be doing the right thing, but in the wrong way. Although our work may create positive changes for some, it may also feel threatening to others. It can create ample new serving opportunities, but some may feel that the ways they have served in the past are being somewhat ‘eclipsed’ by this ‘exciting new venture’ (!).
So, how should we respond to ‘opposition’? Is it better to shelve all our plans, in order to keep the peace? Or, should we carry on tenaciously, in spite of the negative reactions (albeit with compassion and consideration)? Resolving these questions is not easy.
What help does the Bible offer us?
When they were facing difficulties, the writer to the Hebrews exhorted them to: “Consider him [Jesus] who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12.3). Of course, not all opposition is from sinners, but all of us can lose heart when we face it, regardless of in whom, or where, it originates.
It may be that the LORD graciously allows us to experience such difficulties for our own development. In the book of Judges, the Lord deliberately left a number of nations in Canaan to develop the strength and fighting ‘muscles’ of the Israelites: “He did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience.” (Judges 3.2). Note the word ‘only’. There was no other reason. He wanted them to learn how to fight.
Author Rick Joyner says that: “learning to deal with opposition is part of the training for those whom God will use”, and President Theodore Roosevelt went even further: “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”.
So, opposition is not always bad. In fact, it can be very useful. When it comes our way, for whatever reason, let’s make the most of it! It may be that its only purpose is to help us.
By Dan Rogers