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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Be ready for opposition

by Nelson Roth
You’re ready to move forward, to take action and implement the plan; but something rises up to the contrary.  You know that God is leading; but opposition to the plan, like voices questioning you are saying, “What you are about to do is too big or it’s so different it can’t be done.  What are you thinking?”  Then quickly, fear sets in, faith vanishes and you begin to believe the opposing voices.  

Those voices can be our own thoughts or the voices of people as in Nehemiah’s case.  Nehemiah’s faith was impressive when he encountered the opposition of mocking and ridicule at the outset of the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem.  As a leader, you too can count on opposition at the start of something new.  God’s leading and blessing does not necessarily mean there will be no opposition to plans for moving forward into the future.

In verse 19 of chapter two, Nehemiah experienced opposition that was openly visible and verbal.  His opposers mocked and ridiculed him; attempting to poke holes in the God given plan.  The negativity could have created fear and crushed the vision for the future to become a reality.

Notice how Nehemiah responded in verse 20.  He did not engage in conversation with his opposers over their mocking and ridicule, instead:
  • He honored God, saying “we will be successful and God will be the reason for success.”
  • Then he stated his role as a servant and declared his intentions to get started.
  • And, he was not alone in his actions of faith. He says, “God will give us success … we His servants will start rebuilding.”

Nehemiah kept his focus in the right place and on the right things when opposition could have brought fear and halted action.  What’s this about fear? - is the title of chapter four in my book Nehemiah Response.  The following is from pages 58-59 telling about a time when my wife and I were in a similar situation of opposing odds stirring inner fears about the plan for the future.

Six days after Katrina, Pam and I found ourselves in line with thousands of other people to receive the basic essentials of life: water, ice, and MREs (meals ready to eat). It was at that moment that all that had happened in the preceding days became reality. This really happened; it’s not a dream. I’m standing in a distribution line with my wife.

That day in particular, while in the distribution line, it hit me with a punch that seemed as hard as Katrina herself, and the waves of fear rippled through my mind. It wasn’t the National Guard standing armed and at their posts—their presence was actually reassuring. It was an eerie feeling, almost like being in the middle of a dream, but it wasn’t a dream. Previously, I had felt a numbness which kept me from accepting the situation, but on this day, it became a reality.

Fear is something that will keep you from taking action. Fear is something that can prevent any further progress. We come to realize that there’s a big task ahead of us, and we can be overwhelmed by it all. The thing that could have kept Nehemiah from moving out from where he was, was expressed as fear. He had never been where he was before, and he was afraid. He was standing at the threshold of a lot of things to tackle, and maybe his emotions were numb to some things, but he felt fear.
What are you afraid of today?  What are some of the fears we can have when we’re ready to launch out on a new venture? How about self-doubt, uncertainty, a lack of confidence, just to name a few fears. You’ll have to discover what causes fear in you. But know this for sure: you’ll have to overcome your fears to move forward.
Don’t let fear have power over you.  Be ready for opposition and move forward into the future.  God knows the other side of where you are now, and he loves you! “…perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).

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