Rebuilding Faith in the Nations of the Earth
This year reminds me of part of the life of Nehemiah. Everything was going along kind of smooth then God gives him an assignment. Exciting right? Yes and no… there is no God assignment that won’t require prayer, work, people issues or come without opposition. In fact most God assignments will have more opposition than compliments.
Today as the Church on the earth, we certainly have an assignment from God. Did we think as we entered these last days we wouldn’t have opposition? 2020 could be called the Year of Opposition. I like to call it the Year of Opportunity.
Nehemiah had a time of prayer where he solidifies in his heart and mind what he would do if granted the right from the king to do what he believes God has given him to do. The time comes, and with some prayer for favor (and some fear) he speaks up and experiences abundant favor. So far so good right? Then he gets to Jerusalem, the place of his assignment and starts the rebuilding of the wall around the city. The verbal opposition and threats are so great he has to tell all the builders to work with a sword in one hand and a brick in another. People get tired, they hear all the threats and get scared and Nehemiah must have wondered if they would be able to complete the wall. Through it all, he continued to trust God and they finished the wall.
His real assignment wasn’t just to rebuild a wall but to rebuild faith in the nation of Israel. Our assignment as the church isn’t just to “Build the Church” like Matthew 16:18 states but to rebuild faith in each nation of the earth. This is an assignment with guaranteed opposition.
I remember in the early years in Germany when it seemed like every direction we turned there was some kind of opposition to why we came. We had 6 students the first year of Bible School. For various reasons, I had to ask 3 of them to leave by Christmas. That was an odd year and we felt like we had wasted peoples money. That bothered us because we had made a commitment to never waste people’s hard earned money… we wanted to always be good stewards.
It took a lot of money to make the move and start getting set up that first year and it seemed like we had no fruit for all the effort. That first year just seemed like it wasn’t working. The temptation to get discouraged was real. I was out walking in the forest one day talking to God about it and he spoke to my heart very clear. His words encouraged me about fruit and money and we never looked back.
Today, even though there still might be great opposition at times, we also have great victories! From 6 students that first year to hundreds in many nations, multiplied leaders, many campuses, thousands of students in Europe, Africa and the Middle East because of so many willing people faithfully praying, working, volunteering and giving.
As Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” With His Word we can stand strong in any opposition that comes.
This is why we put such great emphasis on teaching God’s Word to students, churches and anyone else who wants to hear. His Word is the foundation that we use to solve every problem, tackle every issue, build relationships, exercise our authority, walk in love with a crazy world and generally overcome whatever comes our way.
The assignment the church has been given, and each of us as a member, is so significant that the Holy Spirit works with us to accomplish His will. It is a matter of eternity for everyone so we don’t let anything distract us from moving forward and sharing the news of God’s wonderful and extravagant grace to all who will hear.
Together we are all part of a team that is reaching around the world every single day to continue to teach, disciple, train and pray for students. Plus, we continue to translate books and train leaders. Like Matthew 16:18 says …the gates of hell will not prevail against the church.
We will finish the work we are called to do if we stand together with the Word of God in our hand and our heart. We would love to have you join the team that changes so many lives.
John, Michelle and the Grunewald Ministries Team