You’re going to face opposition. Encouraging, right? But as Christians, this shouldn’t surprise us. We were never promised a comfortable, easy life. Instead, we are promised a life marked by trouble, obstacles, and suffering. And when we decide to pursue God’s work? That opposition tends to intensify.
Fortunately, we have sources of encouragement in these times of struggle. In the book of Nehemiah, Nehemiah set out to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem—necessary work to protect the Jewish people. And before long, he found himself face to face with opposition. Two men—Sanballat and Tobiah—made it their mission to stop the work he was doing. First they tried making fun of him by belittling the quality of his work. When that failed to stop Nehemiah, their opposition escalated, and soon they were plotting to attack and kill everyone at work on the wall.
Nehemiah could have dished it back at Sanballat and Tobiah, insulting them in return and driving them off with his own show of force. He could have taken their threats as a sign from God that he was in over his head and run away while he still had the chance. But he didn’t.
What did Nehemiah do? And what should we do, when we face opposition to the work God’s given us?
First, we pray. Nehemiah prays twice in the fourth chapter of his namesake book—once after hearing Sanballat and Tobiah’s taunts, and again after hearing of their plot to come and fight against Jerusalem. No matter what sort of opposition you face, asking God for help is the right first step to take.
Second, we keep our eyes on the finish line. Nehemiah didn’t engage with Sanballat and Tobiah. He continued with the work God had given him. Don’t let opposition cause you to wander from the work God’s given you—once you’ve started God’s work, keep at it.
Third, we work together. Nehemiah wasn’t rebuilding the wall on his own. Dozens of people were working alongside him. And together, they were able to take the precautions necessary to keep all the Jews in Jerusalem safe. Similarly, God will nearly always give us partners in the work we do for Him. If you face opposition, lean on one another. We’re stronger together.