Dealing with oppositions

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: Nehemiah 3:15-5:13; Proverbs 21:5-7

READ (Verses chosen for reflection)
Nehemiah 4:7-8 “But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were very angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.”

Nehemiah was doing a great thing in answering God’s call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. However, the enemies of God found in the persons of Sanballat, Tobiah and Gehshem opposed to such a cause.

Opposition to the work of God is not uncommon. We can find many such instances in the Bible as well as in our own lives. The main challenge is not a theological enquiry on whether we will face oppositions or even suffer for the sake of the Gospel; the main challenge is how we respond to such oppositions.

In Nehemiah, we discovered a godly response. What he did frequently and in priority was to pray and seek God’s protection and wisdom. To Nehemiah, this was not merely a ritual he learnt from young as a Hebrew; but an unyielding belief that God is much bigger and will provide the way out.

Similar to many people, I face oppositions in the work that the Lord has given. In my younger days, I have the tendency to react defensively against such oppositions. Over time, I discovered that such oppositions could also be God’s way of telling me to that I have done wrong. Hence, I learnt (and still learning) that when faced with such oppositions, the best thing to do is as follow:

  1. Pray and ask God for discernment – if I have done wrong or could improve.
  2. If I sense with clarity that the Lord is asking me to persevere despite oppositions, then I will pray for a wise and God-glorifying way to deal with the oppositions.

May I be constantly inspired by the humble and courageous heart of Nehemiah to respond to oppositions in my life in a God-glorifying manner. Amen.