In 1895, a young woman named Amy Carmichael came to India where she made it her life’s mission to rescue orphaned temple children. Amy founded the Dohnavur Fellowship which included nurseries, cottage homes, hospitals, and schools. But the young missionary encountered fierce opposition. Amy refused to give up, saying, “When I consider the cross of Christ, how can anything that I do be called sacrifice?”
Nehemiah also encountered intense challenges. When Nehemiah’s enemies learned the building project was successful, they were angry. Their mockery and collusion had come to nothing; the wall had been rebuilt. Still unwilling to submit to the Lord, they hatched a plot to physically harm Nehemiah. When he saw through their plans and refused to meet them outside Jerusalem’s walls, Sanballat (Samaria’s governor) sent a letter accusing Nehemiah of subversion. The accusation could have spelled Nehemiah’s doom at the hands of the Persian king.
Nehemiah responded to Sanballat’s lie with the best possible remedy: the truth: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head” (v. 8). Nehemiah then did his usual best thing—he prayed.
Have you experienced the sort of relentless opposition that Nehemiah faced? I certainly haven’t, and I don’t imagine that I would be as consistently faithful as Nehemiah has been. His trust in the Lord, refusal to stray from the task at hand, and unwillingness to play the same games as his enemies show us a clear path for navigating opposition, should we ever face it (and Jesus promises we will!). May we, like Nehemiah, remain faithful to the Lord, humbly dependent on Him, and focused on what the Lord calls us to do, come what may!
>> What are you praying about that requires steadfast prayer, even in the face of direct opposition? Jot down a few concrete steps you can take to cultivate a life of prayer and trust like we have seen in Nehemiah.
All of us are ultimately accountable to You for our actions. Keep us steadfast in obeying You, even when others oppose us. Make Your will clear to us so we can be confident that we are acting on Your authority, not our own.