We can expect resistance when we are doing the work of God, but God has promised to protect and sustain us.
The Yes Effect
By Luis Bush
If we are to combat injustice in the world and bring the light of Christ to dark places, we need to step close enough to feel the pain of the oppressed and afflicted. For the sake of others, we say yes to danger and hardship. And we can come out from the most harrowing of situations and still press on. We know that the “Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming” (Ps. 37:13). We trust God will somehow work all things for good, but that does not mean we don’t expect resistance. Wicked people will continue to say yes to evil. But we are committed to saying yes to Jesus, to exercising his authority in dark places.
For the sake of others we say yes to danger and hardship.
Even as I write this, my friends and I are dealing with unexpected resistance in certain areas of the world. Some who oppose the gospel have made it difficult for nonprofits to continue feeding and educating children in local schools in one area of the 10/40 Window. But has the Lord led us here for nothing? We have been at this long enough to know resistance does not indicate we should leave the work so dear to our hearts—and to God’s. While we don’t have to seek out hardship, we, like Paul, can learn to be content whatever the circumstances, knowing that we will experience more of Christ’s resurrection power (see Phil. 4:11).
We have been at this long enough to know resistance does not indicate we should leave the work so dear to our hearts—and to God’s.
Throughout my faith journey, I’ve noticed that a great percentage of the Bible gives us narratives and instructions for how to navigate suffering. That tells me that a great percentage of our walk as believers will likely involve suffering, too. We must yearn and learn “to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). From the beginning when man brought brokenness into the world to the end when God redeems all creation, we see God protecting and sustaining his people and his world despite the havoc we, who sinned against him, and the enemy have caused. Our perspective determines how we interpret the trials we face, and what we see around us. If we focus on our pain, we will see darkness and gloom. In The Message, Hebrews 12:18 says, “Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak.” Hebrews 12:22 goes on, “No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides.” And he is the One whose presence helps us to “count it all joy … when [we] meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2).
We see God protecting and sustaining his people and his world despite the havoc we have caused.
What resistance are you experiencing in your efforts to help others right now? What emotions are rising to the surface as you face difficulty? Do you fear harm that may come your way as you enter into an unstable environment? Are you frustrated by conflict within a group that you once trusted? Have you felt betrayed or abandoned by a friend or co-laborer in the gospel? Have you second-guessed something that you felt God had invited you to do? How different might the situation look if you imagine yourself the sole representative of Jesus in that place?
Have you second-guessed something that you felt God had invited you to do?
The resistance you experience could be an indicator that God is doing something special and that his enemy wants to stand in the way. Commit yourself to standing your ground, and you’ll see God’s glorious story unfold, which is but a hint of the final glory to come. If we focus on the joy set before us, our faith and work will be more informed by the good ahead than the gloom here and now. And in spite of all the chaos that may come along the way, we can say with the apostle John, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).
Taken from The Yes Effect: Accepting God’s Invitation to Transform the World Around You by Luis Bush with Darcy Wiley (©2017). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.