I spent many years owning businesses, working on the mission field and in churches, and managing teams. One of the things I learned from these roles was that there will always be a group of people that disparage you, that can never be placated, and will always work against anyone in a leadership role. That just goes with the job.
I’ve been lied about, stabbed in the back, drowned in corporate politics, and betrayed. I thank God for these and pray God will bless the people that did these things and that God will open their eyes.
No, I never prayed, “God, give me hateful people.” I never needed to; I got them with no effort at all! The reason I am thankful for them is that Jesus had this same environment. We see this in the account when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Let’s read John 11:33-37 (NIV):
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
There it is: “But some of them said…” If we are to rejoice when we are counted worthy to suffer for Jesus (Acts 5:4, Romans 5:3-5), then it seems right that we should rejoice when we are counted worthy to share in the same kind of toxic environment which our Lord so graciously passed through.
An easy road will never prepare us for the great spiritual battles which God desires for us. God’s love is beyond comprehension. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” (James 1:2)