The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’
Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”
(Ex 5:6-8, 22-23)
Over the years, I have come across much anecdotal evidence, from my own life and from the testimony of others, that when you first decide to make some breakthrough for the Lord, things may first get worse before they get better.
You become convinced that God wants you well, but after you storm the heavens the first time, you have a bout of illness worse than before. You become convinced of the need to tithe, but after the first month you go overdrawn. Have you ever heard testimonies like these?
I'm convinced that nothing can stop a man or woman who is determined to follow God; but that is just it, we need to be determined! Although the enemy never has the power to stop us, he does seem to have the ability to test our resolve. We are no threat to him when we are still bound by inertia in the status-quo, but as soon as we show signs of wanting to press into new ground, he throws at us whatever he can to make our situation uncomfortable. We then have a choice to make that will reveal what we value more: the comfortable life, or the victorious life. The choice we make will reveal whether the seed of the word that we initially responded to fell on good soil, or rocky soil.
These are the "bricks without straw" situations of life that test our resolve, and challenge what we really want. Moses and the people had to decide if they wanted a comfortable life making bricks in slavery, or a victorious life free from ever making bricks again. These are not times to give up, but times to press through. Times to prove that God is faithful to his promises and his power is greater than whatever the enemy may throw at us. No weapon forged against us can prosper, but in the "bricks without straw" moments they look like they might. These are times to show that our faith will not waver; that we are convinced that God will do what he said he would do. The fact that we encounter such opposition should actually give us great hope that the breakthrough we seek is just around the corner. If it were not, why would the enemy waste his efforts? Its always darkest just before the dawn.
Never give up in these moments, for that is just what our enemy wants you to do. Press on, press through, and overcome! Jesus is our great example: before he could sit down in glory, he first had to endure the cross... what are our difficulties compared with that!?
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Heb 12:3-4)
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Gal 6:9)