Sometimes, I get frustrated.
I experience frustration that I’m not as far as I want to be, as fast, or consistent as I want to be, or as proficient as I want to be, and yet… those are all just bars I have set for myself, and not necessarily valid measuring sticks in the big scheme of things.
Often, I get frustrated by my own distractable personality… can we say ADHD?!
Yeah, pretty sure I have had that all my life. My mother used to just say “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you sit still? Do you have ants in your pants?” (When I was really young, I used to get a bit freaked by that question, and run and check to see if there were ants in my pants! I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out HOW my eyes were bigger than my stomach… OH, those silly idioms mama used!)
Back to today’s frustrations. These examples listed above are just my own personal daily stumbling blocks I have to conquer on a regular basis. Story of my life. I can deal with that.
The REAL frustration that I am the MOST frustrated with are all the Sanballats and Tobiah’s in my life.
All through the book of Nehemiah, we see Nehemiah trying passionately to follow God’s plan for this period of time in his life. He was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, but he was met with intense opposition. Sometimes subtle, sometimes sneaky, and sometimes outright mean & evil, but opposition to God’s work, nonetheless. This opposition had 2 main names… Sanballat and Tobiah.
In my life, Sanballat and Tobiah represents the friends, family, and acquaintances who ask you “What is going on in your life? What are you up to these days?” and when you open up and tell them, they have negative responses, negative words, negative questions, and negative faces.
This can be about any work you step out in Faith to do for the Lord. You have most likely prayed for a good while about whatever it is. Sought affirmation and re-affirmation from God. You received that affirmation in many ways; sometimes special, personal, meaningful ways, and then you nervously but excitedly stepped out on Faith. Out of your comfort zone perhaps, and have begun “the thing.”
If you are like me, you still may be cautious about who you tell, but when you do, usually with excitement in your voice and demeanor, trusting they will be excited for you (and many are!) you are met with crickets, or negative comments or questions, or looks.
Of course, people can ask good questions, which you welcome! A chance of explaining your heart’s passion in further detail. But too many times it is the cynical negative questions that come out, revealing the disdain and disbelief of the one who asked you in the first place. This is the Sanballat & Tobiah reaction, and it does a lot to discourage us if we are not on guard for it.
This happened to us way back when we began the process of adopting our 2 daughters from social services. We were soooo excited that our dreams were coming true and God had opened up the doors for us to adopt. We were already a family of 5, and had 3 biological children, who of course we loved with all our hearts. But we knew we could love some other children with all our hearts too, children who needed the love of a family.
Visit the widows and the orphans, the Bible says. Who could be against that.
Sanballat and Tobiah could be.
Most people were supportive and many were openly excited for us, but there were always some naysayers. Even in the church. I was floored to experience some rude people who would ask things like “Why in the world would you want to adopt?!” With that cynical face and negative tone inherent in the question. Or they would give us reasons why we were delusional to even consider doing something like that. What in the world were we thinking?
Um… maybe because we love children? Or because they need a family? Or because God set the example by adopting me? No, I didn’t give these answers, at least not in a rude way. But I did try to explain it in some manner.. which was generally not to be accepted by them anyway. Because they were Sanballats and Tobiahs.
Sanballats and Tobiahs are the naysayers, the cynical, the stinking-thinking negative people who feel it is their task in life to rain on your parade, even when God Himself has given you the parade to march in, and the unique-to-you “instrument” to play in the first place.
I’ve experienced this Sanballat and Tobiah reaction in this journey of blogging too. The screwed up faces and the negative questions of “Why would you want to do that?” “What good will that do?” “There’s no money in that!” “But you’re not a writer!” etc, etc.
Well… maybe I want to share God’s Word and my testimony with the internet world. Maybe to encourage the ones God leads me to encourage. Maybe to step out on Faith and follow God’s leading and add my voice to others’ crying in the wilderness “Prepare the way for the Lord!” and this even more so as we see the day approaching for His immanent return.
Maybe simply because God said to.
I’m not the greatest writer in the world, obviously. I’m not the best encourager. I’m not the most skilled website maker. I definitely don’t have the best grammatical abilities.
But, I love God and I want you to love Him too! I want to grow more and more in grace, and I want to encourage you to grow in grace too. I cherish my friendship with Jesus, and I want you to have a friendship with Him that you cherish too! I am forever thankful that God saved me from my sins and gave me Eternal Life with Him in Heaven one day, and I want you to be there in Heaven too!
So why not me, Mr & Mrs. Sanballat and Tobiah?
And, why not you? If God has called you to blogging, or missionarying, or preaching, or teaching, or book writing, or encouraging, hospitality-izing, or any other ministry! Why not you?
God is the one who equips us to do what He has called us to do.
And really, I suppose if He could call a donkey to speak, its no stretch for Him to ask me to blog.
Don’t let the Sanballats and Tobiahs discourage you in whatever God has laid on your heart to do. Nehemiah didn’t, and the wall was built. In record time too, I believe. Despite all the opposition.
You may have to just choose to smile and walk away. You may want to lift a quick prayer for them to see the light of what God can do through someone who yields their fears to Him. Maybe, simply be sad for them that they don’t have a dream of Faith they are willing to stretch themselves for, and depend on God for. But no matter what, don’t give in to that discouragement they are dishing out. Trust the path God has revealed to you. Be the willing clay in the Potter’s hands.
Whenever God has a purpose in a work or a calling, you can be sure there will be adversaries like Sanballat and Tobiah. Its just sadder when it comes from our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I guess, if I’m honest with myself and you, I have been the Sanballat before too. I have been the Tobiah to someone else’s sweet dream in Christ. I suppose it comes from maturity and experience that we start to recognize how not to be an unwitting adversary to someone else’s sincere Faith Walk.
Obviously… PRAYER is the key. That is how Nehemiah faced his adversaries. Prayer. Over and over again, he took his problem with Sanballat and Tobiah to the Lord, and his adversaries were defeated. God’s work was accomplished to God’s glory. That’s the ultimate goal. God’s glory.
So, I suggest… to myself as well as to you all, that we pray for ourselves to not quench someone else’s calling, or faith walk, or dream of ministry. Pray that God keeps us from being the Sanballat or Tobiah in the next person’s God given purpose.
Pray also for the negative minded Sanballats and Tobiahs in your life. Pray that one day they would have a God-given dream of their own to strive for and walk in Faith for. Because THAT would glorify God the most.
To God be the Glory in all that we, and our brothers and sisters in Christ do.
This picture and quote below has been my motivational message to myself. I hope it encourages you too, whatever “The Thing” is that God has put on your heart to do.
You can download this and other Bible Verse pictures and famous quote images in the Shadowing Enoch Free Resources Library. Sign up here! My gift to all the subscribers to the blog newsletter. Other free resources are coming soon.
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