“May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you…may He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose… Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
– Psalm 20:1, 4, 7
Our church family was shocked and saddened this past Sunday to learn that on that very morning, as we were meeting for worship, two local churches had been bombed. Just one hour away from our location, a Catholic church had a glass window blown out by a bomb, and a Baptist church had their mailbox blown apart. Our culture is becoming increasingly hostile toward Christians, and we truly are entering a time of open and obvious spiritual warfare.
How do we respond to things like this? Do we back down, or try and keep silent? Not at all. More than ever before, Christians need to stand strong, stand together, and stand securely in God’s strength.
After hearing this news, I stepped into the pulpit to deliver my Sunday Morning sermon, and it happened to be on Nehemiah, chapters 3 and 4. We talked about the way Nehemiah was doing a work of rebuilding and restoration in Jerusalem, and that several enemies rose up to attack them and try to stop the work they were doing for the Lord. Were they afraid? Of course they were! But did they back down? Not in the least. Nehemiah armed every single builder with a sword, and they kept working with one hand while standing ready to defend themselves with the other. Instead of hindering the work, this threat actually motivated the Israelites to work harder, and before long the wall of Jerusalem was completely restored.
Was it a coincidence that the Lord placed this sermon on my heart on the very day we would learn of such tragic local news? I don’t believe in coincidences. We as God’s people need to pray hard for God’s protection over our ministries and friends, for forgiveness for those who would come against us, but most of all… that this age of persecution would stir us each up to work even harder at the ministry of healing and restoration that the Lord has called us to.
This morning, as I met with the Lord, I read a devotion in James Stuart Bell’s “The One Year Men of the Bible” which stated the following: “God often calls men of character and commitment to handle His more difficult ministerial assignments. Only such men come prepared to handle them. If God calls you to handle a difficult situation, He will equip and empower you to get the job done.”
Does it feel like your ministry is under attack? Do you feel as if the Lord has called you to a particularly difficult assignment? If so, then be encouraged! The Lord entrusted this difficult assignment to you because He knew you have what it takes to see the work accomplished. And when you come under attack, don’t allow yourself to be delayed or discouraged from doing God’s work. Instead, follow the example of Nehemiah. Cry out for God’s deliverance, gather your Christian brethren for support, put on the full armor of God, and work even harder at the task you’ve been given… God may just be preparing to show Himself mighty on your behalf!