Prophets seem to be prone to abuse and criticism. I believe that the suffering of the prophetic ministry is so that one can identify with the sufferings of Christ himself.
This is certainly a wonderful privilege, but it also causes one to suffer things that perhaps others don’t.
Even though Christ lived a victorious life, He was in fact a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief and rejection himself. He was not received by his own, yet he dwelt among them.
This is the emphasis and job of the prophet. He is to dwell amongst a people that will not receive him/her and declare the message of God, even in the midst of possible rejection and hurt.
And yet our message even though not received by many, goes out into all the earth. It is sent out from the throne of God like arrows that would hit the mark. That mark would expose many things in the lives of believers and those who would hear it. Those arrows would divide between soul and spirit, exposing the thoughts and intentions of the heart, Hebrews 4:12.
We are called to go to the beat of a different drummer. We are called to take the path less chosen, and oftentimes that path, is laden with heavy brush, and is rocky.
It is rocky and laden with these things, because very few have chosen to take it. Many would prefer the easy way, the smooth way.
We know that the very life of Christ was on a lonely road that only He could take. But the Father was always by His side, ever encouraging Him to go on, even though in the end, He was left all alone on the cross.
And yes, it is true that we ALL are called upon to take the narrow path, and not the wide one, for it would lead to destruction. We all must suffer at times not just because of the unfairness of life, but because we all are to partake in the death and resurrection of our LORD.
But there are still roads that lead to places that perhaps few have trod; these are those places that many of us have been called to take. We wouldn’t take them just for the sake of being a martyr, or one that would revel in things such as these. Indeed, no one would choose these paths, unless they were divinely ordered for them to take.
The prophet’s task is not all a matter of just giving words to an individual, church, or nation. For he or she, is mandated to stand in the gap and partake in spiritual warfare with the heavenly hosts.
One is called to stand in the gap for a nation or people. Countless hours may be spent in just doing this, and then the time will come when the atmosphere clears, and the darkness is dispelled. One would struggle in the spirit for hours on end for a certain person, interceding for them in the spirit.
Even in one’s own family, they may not be received or understood. But one is compelled to continue with the fire that burns within, and the task that they are called upon to do.
It is wise to learn how to balance these things with the needs of a family, for very soon what can begin as something right and true, can become a divine distraction.
“But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house,” Mark 6:4.
Look at the prophets of the Old Testament. They were regularly rejected and criticized for their true words from the LORD. That hasn’t changed today. Our personal popularity is not what prophecy is for. It is for the LORD’s glory, the LORD’s purposes.
The words are not just words that are spoken, but they are the very heart strings of God Himself.
“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” Isaiah 55:11.
However, just as the prophets of old were persecuted and even killed for what they said, so will prophets in this day relate with the persecution of obscurity and the suffering of possible rejection. Here are some things that might be helpful:
- Learn to be thankful in all things. As we would learn to rejoice in suffering, then we can become stronger and God can use these moments to train other prophets.
Learn to forgive others who may have hurt you, and release them to God.
- Just because you were hurt or denied by one leader, doesn’t mean that all would do this. And in fact, you may not have fully understood the situation.
Pastors and other leaders are in a position to protect their flock and to keep them safe from other influences. But there are times when rejection comes along with hurtful words, curses or false prophecy given by controlling leaders or Jezebel.
Don’t ever accept hurtful words from others, but let them fall to the ground where they would then die.
- Be open to constructive criticism. Good communication can help as we listen to others and see things from their perspective.
The time will come when prophecy will cease, but love will endure forever. Was the judgment that was given truly meant to be rejection, or was it given to help in some way?
Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, but learn to develop a thicker skin with these things. If someone has truly wronged you then God will deal with them.
It’s ultimately up to God if a person hasn’t received a true word from God or not.
- Learn to move forward and to heal from anyone that has hurt you. Leave these things at the feet of Jesus and learn to just rest in Him.
It is ultimately up to the LORD Himself, how the word that is spoken or written down, is to be used.
It is His word and not our own, and yet, the true prophet would identify with the word and allow it to penetrate his heart, for it is God’s heart.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has prophesied regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?