“STEADFAST, UNMOVEABLE, FAITHFUL”
You know what sells. The books, movies, and stories that are motivational, victorious, and those that have a champion who overcomes every onslaught to rise to hero status. That is what we pay money to see in theatrical performances, or in athletic contests, or in the life of an underdog who presses through every single handicap to rise to victory.
That is true in real life. If we take the time to hear the stories of everyday people, you are going to meet some who are exceptional. Their journey has been a most challenging course, and yet there is a smile on their face, a song in their heart, and a joy that comes from deep within their soul.
I had the privilege of attending Celebrate Recovery in our church last week on the seventh anniversary of our CR group meeting at FBCBA. The people in that group are some of the most loving, vibrant Christians I have ever met. When I am in a CR meeting, I watch the passion with which they sing, the fervency of voices in prayer around me when there is a time of prayer, and the testimonies of overcoming addictions and “pitfalls” that have sometimes been very deep. The evening leaves me overwhelmed. The power of the Gospel of Jesus to transform the human heart is still one of the greatest of all miracles to behold. Those that lead or work in Christian ministry never tire of seeing the “amazing grace” of our Savior up close and personal.
Sometimes, people quit too soon. When the pressures are great, the progress is slow, the opposition is stiff, the ugliness is pandemic, and one’s strength is gone, it is easy to truly ask our ourselves, “Why do I keep on ‘keeping on’?”
When he was appointed as the pastor a church in Cambridge, England, in 1783 Charles Simeon was delighted. The people of the church did not share his joy. Many of the prominent members of the church opposed his convictions on reaching the lost with the gospel. To show their displeasure they locked their pew boxes during the service and left them empty so that those who came to hear Simeon preach had to stand or sit in the aisles. Eventually God began to work, and Simeon’s ministry had a powerful influence on the nation of England and the world through his efforts to encourage missionary work.
During the dark days of opposition Simeon wrote: “In this state of things I saw no remedy but faith and patience…. It was painful indeed to see the church, with the exception of the aisles, almost forsaken; but I thought that if God would only give a double blessing to the congregation that did attend, there would on the whole be as much good done as if the congregation were doubled and the blessing limited to only half the amount. This comforted me many, many times, when without such a reflection, I should have sunk under my burden.”
Opposition does not mean that we are doing things wrong—often it is evidence that we are doing things right. If we allow ourselves to be deterred from doing anything unless we have complete approval, it is certain that we will never accomplish anything of value. Rather than being discouraged by opposition, we should take comfort in God’s faithfulness and keep on doing what is right.