During a dark time in their history, the Israelites lived away from their homeland for 70 years. After returning home and in spite of many obstacles over the years, they successfully rebuilt the temple—the symbol of God’s presence. There are at least three valuable lessons that we can learn through the Israelite’s perseverance, especially when God gives us a specific calling or responsibility to fulfill.
First, the Israelites got distracted and took their eyes off the goal. To live out God’s mission and receive His blessing, we need to keep our eyes on the goal of living obediently before Jesus Christ. This includes spending time with God in His Word and in prayer, and giving priority to spiritual matters when they conflict with non-spiritual things.
Second, the Israelites faced opposition and obstacles. One thing to remember is that everyone faces obstacles and opposition in their faith journey. The devil is constantly throwing barriers in our way to distract us from knowing God.
Third, we need to adjust our expectations when we follow God’s calling. Life adjustments may include staying at a place or situation when we expected change; or moving to a new job, school or even location and starting over just as we’re settling into a situation. God even may call us to endure a situation we didn’t expect to face so that we will learn to rely on Him more instead of trusting in ourselves and in our own strength.
When I (Vanessa) was a young adult, I was invited to join a full-day discipleship training held on Saturdays, which I struggled with the idea of giving up. When I realized I spent most of that time hanging out with friends, I decided to say yes to God, giving first priority to knowing Him more.
God also placed me at a job where I faced obstacles and opposition. It seemed like I wasn’t able to contribute my best. I pressed on because I knew that God called me to be there. Through that job, God worked on my character and humbled me. I also knew that my colleagues were watching how I lived, more so through my obstacles than successes.
In the same way that God asked me to give up my Saturdays and embrace a difficult job, God’s ways and plans may not be what we envisioned, but as we persevere in living out His calling, others may see God when they encounter us.
- How do you react when you face obstacles and opposition at your workplace?
- How much time are you spending in knowing God and hearing Him?
- Are you willing to persevere when things are not smooth and choose to follow God’s calling?
About the Authors
Theo Lai is the English pastor at San Gabriel Valley Alliance Church, with specific ministry focus on Asian American adults and students. Vanessa is Theo’s wife, and serves as Presence’s HR director and program manager for Presence Possibilities, overseeing organizational administration, HR, and the development of Presence Possibilities.
About the Artist
Tammi Yu graduated from Cal State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration. She is now working as a freelance artist around the Los Angeles area and spends her free time watching Korean dramas and enjoying sweets.