"Warning!" the radio blared. "Please change your plans. Come another night. There is danger in the area."
Gentry and his Jesus Film® team in the Solomon Islands sat still as they listened to the radio call. Discouraged, Gentry pondered their course of action.
This was the third time they had tried to send a film team to this area, and again, the village's enemy tribe was too close for comfort.
Gentry knew in his heart this village needed to hear the story of Jesus, so he gathered his team and prayed, asking God for direction.
That night Gentry and his teammates sensed they should go through with the showings, despite the warnings. Tribal fighting loomed over the area, but they were confident God was at work.
Knowing the team was determined to come, the leader warned them they would have to take personal responsibility for whatever might happen to them.
When Gentry and his team arrived, the community did not formally welcome them as was customary. The atmosphere was instead filled with fear, so Gentry and his team prayed for God's protection and peace.
At nightfall the showing began, and villagers slowly emerged from their homes, fixated on the screen, fixated on Jesus. As the "JESUS" film played, everyone fell quiet. Only the message of the movie could be heard in the darkness.
Silent and unseen, 30 armed men from the nearby tribe approached the crowd in the dark, hidden behind the cover of trees and using the film’s distraction as an opportunity to strike. But as they waited to strike, they heard the words of Jesus in the movie. Two members of Gentry's team stood up and shared their testimonies along with the invitation to follow Christ.
The attackers came out of the bushes submissively, lifting their arms and weapons.
The leader of the armed men could no longer hold back his emotion. In tears he admitted they had come to fight and to kill, but "Christ won us tonight."
That night 478 villagers, including the armed men from the enemy tribe, decided to follow Christ. And over the course of the next few days, peace was restored between the two warring communities.
Opposition comes in many forms. Sometimes it's a minor setback, other times, it's more risky, like Gentry experienced. That's when opposition can be terrifying. Because it causes us to doubt and lose courage.
I face opposition almost every time I prepare for a mission trip with Jesus Film Project®. I could cancel the trip but I press on in prayer, knowing the enemy does all he can to stop me. After all, if it's the Lord trying to stop me, I don't think I'd be able to continue. He's a pretty big God.
In 1 Corinthians 16:8-9, Paul decides to stay in Ephesus because "a wide door for effective work has opened to me and there are many adversaries" (RSV).
Paul doesn't shy away from trouble. For it's in those times we know the outcome must be big if the opposition is so great. Notice Paul said a "wide" door was opening. Wide doors are for big things!
Are you facing opposition about something? Are you second-guessing whether you should turn around, thinking maybe you misheard from God?
Pray. Ask the Lord to reveal His will, then press on. Perhaps it's just a hiccup on the road to a breakthrough. A huge door for effective work might just be opening for you.
In the comments below, share about a time when you or someone you know, has persevered through opposition that later brought victory?