What do you do when all the world seems to be against you and your divine calling? The moments when nothing appears to be going right and those spiritual foes are seemingly creating chaos?
To return again to my reading in the life of Samuel Logan Brengle, I found deep encouragement and gaiety at what I found. At age 37 he was officially commissioned to travel the states preaching salvation and holiness. At the onset, he journaled:
I feel that every moment must be used in doing something for the good of my fellows. Oh, that the Lord would enlarge and enlarge and enlarge my capacity for usefulness, increase my faith, and pour rivers of living water through me. I know I want this unselfishly. My heart yearns over the darkness and blindness and ignorance and unbelief and unwillingness and helplessness of the people, and I want to make them see Jesus and get at the secret of His fullness and power and holiness.
But before you think everything was bliss, he lived in a constant state of struggle, denial, and sacrifice. Often he would arrive at a location to find no announcement was made of his coming and thus the crowds were small and indifferent. He had no help or aid with music, promotion, administrative duties, and other responsibilities that come with being full time on the road as an itinerant evangelist. Yet he was not moved. At one point, while in Rhode Island, he was preparing to give an afternoon sermon when an individual walked in to tell him of the lack of turnout – for it had rained heavily and only nine people showed up. The gentleman recalls:
I came into [his room] and told told Brengle that since only nine had come, I would have a short prayer-meeting with them and send them home till the evening when I knew we would have a large crowd. “Certainly not,” said Brengle, “these nine have taken the trouble to come long distances at probably great inconvenience on this wet afternoon. I shall go and give them my very best!” He did so, with the result that six out of the nine came to [salvation].
Looking back on his time of evangelism hardship, Brengle wrote:
My light was lit to shine where the darkness is, not where all is light and radiance. Again and again I have gone to a corps where the soldiers were all ablaze with light and love, and I have felt: “I am not needed here. I should be instead in the hard and difficult corps where I am really needed.” If our people would see this plainly, it would save them many a heartache when they find themselves in a hard place. That is the one place where Jesus needs them, and they ought to glory in being chosen to fill it.
What about you? Do you cower or run from the ministry Jesus wants to produce through you when it gets hard? By its very nature, the world will be against the Kingdom. They don’t mix. So if you’re a Christian, especially one in ministry, beware that you will be target for the world to hate and press against. Yet no matter the difficulty, no matter the size of the circumstance, no matter the intensity of pressing – we CAN stand firm upon solid ground. Jesus is the Solid-Unmovable Rock upon which we stand. And nothing will prevail against Him (see Ephesians 1.19-23).
If you need encouragement or exhortation in this area, I encourage you to listen to the message by Eric Ludy “Immovable” – which can be download from the Church at Ellerslie website by clicking here. May we all stand immovable on the Rock of Ages with smiles upon our faces, through every trial and difficulty.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth give way,
And though the mountains be carried
into the midst of the sea.
– Psalm 46.1-2 –