Thursday, April 29, 2010
How to Interpret Flak
"But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me." (1 Cor 16:8-9)
Everyone serving the Lord will run into all kinds of opposition. There are people who seem to work against you. There are circumstances that trouble you and impede progress. There are emotional and physical lows that threaten the joy and peace in your heart.
Let's call this flak. That's what airmen in WWII called the anti-aircraft artillery lobbed at them. Occasionally there were direct hits, but the real danger was an exploding shell above your plane, which could blow off your wings. (Wings can take terrific stress from below, but not from above.)
The American bombers used fairly sophisticated navigation and sighting equipment to find their targets. I heard an interview with a vet who talked about how they managed in poor weather, or if fog or low-lying clouds obscured their view of the ground targets. "Oh, that was easy," he said. "When the flak started, you knew you were over the target."
Notice how Paul describes the opportunity he found for the Gospel at Ephesus: and open door, AND "there are many who oppose me." You could say that Paul knew this was effective ministry because he was getting flak!
So if you're feeling opposition and discouragement, persevere because that kind of flak is best interpreted as being over the ministry target.
Remember, too, that ministry is always a team effort. Even if you feel you're alone, it's actually God and you at work.