Why do we love inspirational stories of overcoming obstacles in order to achieve greatness? Naturally, we almost instantly loath anyone born to privilege, yet the rags to riches story is always one of the top box office epics: Braveheart, Cinderella Man, Rocky, Bohemian Rhapsody, Meet the Titans, Even the Incredibles takes a family of super humans and places them in a bias society forced to watch crime happen from the sideline.
“These are tales of woe, told of a man or woman, giving all she or he has for an idea no one else can see or will understand!”
That sounds like a Hollywood advert, but in actuality it describes our greatest heroes: Abe Lincoln lost his mom at a young age, had a fairly mean dad and lost most of his election races, and yet he became one of the most notable American presidents. Mother Teresa, from a wealthy European family, should never have survived the streets of Calcutta. Gandhi was a “just an Indian”, with no army, no real power, and generations of hate to reason with. I believe, the truth is that we love these stories because something inside of us says it’s necessary.
To bring good, evil must be overcome.
However, to overcome evil, you have be where evil is. Jesus said it best, “Why hide your light under a box, instead, keep it out for all to see.” (paraphrased).
I was driving through Johannesburg (South Africa) and it was hot! The power was out all over the city, so there was no AC to hide in. Then I noticed something very simple, yet profound. When I drove through a street, shaded by large Elm trees, my entire body relaxed. The shade was cooler, my eyes relaxed, even my muscles seem to breath better. Then the light would pour into the windshield as another spot of sun bathed the car, and my entire body seemed to say, “Ugh, I’m tired, leave me alone.” Truth is, that sun is a lot of work, shade/darkness is much easier. But you can’t better yourself in the shade, and you can’t grow crops in the dark.
In the past few weeks, since our family had moved back to South Africa, we have faced a lot of unexpected challenges. Honestly, they are not that bad, just exhausting. Instead of listing the issues we faced, I thought I’d rather tell you what God has taught me: More than just, “this is life” I’ve felt, “This is necessary.”
I have found that the right to be an influence, in any part of the world, must be earned!
So, when you show up in a situation to do some good in Jesus, name. The dark spirits running that place begin to mess with you to convince you to quit. However, they can’t stop a light carrier, Jesus already won the battle. Yet, what they can do is convince you that “it’s not worth it,” or “I was wrong and didn’t hear God correctly.” What about the classic, “It’s just too hard.” The fact is, that the devil, and all his attempts to knock you off your straight and narrow path only hastens his own demise.
Think about it. If we must overcome challenges in order to earn the right to influence our area, then anything the devil throws in our way actually gives us a chance to get over that hurdle quickly and move into a state of influence faster.
Today is our second day in our new home and our water heater (or geezer) busted, and…it is mounted atop the roof, so I had water leaking through the ceiling…I called building maintenance and a super helpful gent named Simon came over to help. Now, I have no water in 90 degree weather, and we are waiting for the water geezer repairman to show up. So…I could be miserable and complain or I could thank God for a chance to meet a new friend named Simon, whom I wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise. I can also see it as one more hurdle I have to jump, in order earn the right to speak life and peace, into the lives of those in darkness around me.