Want to do Big Things? There Will Be Resistance

Think about the Bible. Was there ever a Godly and good thing accomplished in the Bible that was easy? I can’t think of one.

And yet it is so easy to think that if something is hard to do, then it shouldn’t be done. Or to think that God doesn’t want it to be done.

Where would we be if every time there was  resistance to a dream or goal, we just gave it up because it was too costly, hard and stressful?

Consider the Golden Gate Bridge. Construction began in 1933 and was completed in 1937. It is 90 feet wide, 746 feet high and 1.7 miles long.

Until the bridge was completed, the only practical short route to San Francisco was a ferry that took approximately 20 minutes. I’m sure someone said in opposition to construction: “We don’t need a bridge, we have a boat. It will cost too much money.”

The trouble was that San Francisco’s growth rate was behind the national average and that was probably in part due to the inadequate transportation to San Francisco. Can you imagine driving all the way around or having to wait to take a ferry everyday? The Golden Gate Bridge seemed like a no-brainer.

But just because it is apparent that something should be done, does not mean that there won’t be a lot of resistance.

Consider that many experts said the bridge could not be built across the 6,700 foot strait. (The opposition always has an expert witness.) Not only was it a great distance, but the builders and the bridge would have to endure swirling tides and currents, water that was 500 feet deep at the center of the channel, and frequent strong storms. The “experts” also said that ferocious winds and blinding fogs would prevent both construction and operation. Interesting isn’t it? These things didn’t hinder the ferry from crossing.

Not only were there natural obstacles, but there were the all-important economic ones as well. The San Francisco City Engineer estimated it would cost $100 million, which was impractical for the time.The cost of the bridge ended up being between 35 to 37 million dollars. Way under the original estimates.

But consider also the cost if they had not built the bridge then. What if they would have waited. What would be lost? Just recently it has been proposed to place suicide nets on the sides of the bridge at a cost of between 40 to 50 million dollars. Consider also that the cost today to build the same bridge is estimated to be $1.2 billion. Was it worth it to build then?

But there was still other resistance. The bridge faced litigation from many sources. The Department of War was concerned that the bridge would interfere with ship traffic. The Navy feared that a ship collision or sabotage to the bridge could block the entrance to one of its main harbors. Unions demanded guarantees that local workers would be favored for construction jobs. Southern Pacific Railroad opposed the bridge as competition to its ferry fleet and filed a lawsuit against the project. And I am sure there are other stories including the danger of building and the 11 people who died building the bridge. (Most information from Wikipedia.)

This bridge is considered an architectural marvel. It is an American Icon. And most of all, it was needed for the growth of a city.

The bottom line is this: The effort to do big things will often be met with big opposition, but opposition is not a certain sign that the big thing we seek to do should not be done. Neither does it mean it should necessarily be done. But if it needs to be done and must be done, resistance can’t be the deciding factor concerning what we do. After all, there’s always someone who is in opposition.

If the building of the Golden Gate Bridge does not convince us, we can always turn to the Bible and look at the life of Jesus. He was God and yet resisted at every turn.

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About brentprentice

Brent is the lead pastor and one of the Elders at Eagle Heights in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has been married to Lacey for 14 years and together they love two sons, Luke and Elijah, and a daughter, Bella.

Posted on November 10, 2011, in The Local Church. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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