When we face external opposition, it magnifies any internal reservations or uncertainties we may have. Such opposition might come from friends, church leaders, family members, or even a spouse—which is undoubtedly the most complicated type of opposition.
Marlena was acknowledged as the best leader for a new campus small group but was told that she needed to take a less visible role because “people listen better to men.” Another friend felt a strong call to prayer ministry but her husband, disapproving, insisted that she spend her time doing something else like finding a part-time job.
Hearing these stories of others facing opposition doesn’t diminish the sting of our own experiences. But it does remind us we’re in good company. Historically, our sisters have faced opposition to their calling, both inside and outside the church. Despite Joan of Arc’s clear assignment during the 100 Year’s War, she was opposed, betrayed, and burned at the stake—not because she failed, but because her success threatened those in power. Hannah Moore, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and countless other women also had to learn to walk out their calling while encountering formidable opposition.
We’re never going to be free from critics and opponents this side of heaven. As such, we must find the balance of being teachable and open to correction without valuing others’ opinions over God’s. There’s no formula for this and it will look different for each of us. Confirmation for me has come through prayer, studying Scripture, and experiencing the kingdom of God break in when I’m walking in obedience.
Not long after Beth’s husband received word that he wasn’t going to be hired, Beth sought out an older woman to help her discern if the Bible supported women teaching and preaching. Once convinced, she and her husband began the process of planting a church as co-pastors. She now has the opportunity to exercise her gifts on a regular basis and no longer doubts her calling.
Karen finished seminary—despite the pain and rejection she experienced from her family. Through her writing, teaching, and speaking, she has become one of the most compelling and authoritative theologians of our time. Had she not been willing to suffer, the body of Christ would have been greatly lacking.