Always Building and Watching
By Michele Howe
"The God of heaven will give us success." Nehemiah 2:20
Lately, I've been relating a lot to the Old Testament character Nehemiah who felt physically exhausted, emotionally spent, and spiritually opposed (and I'm not trying to rebuild a wall…just be faithful to the small stuff God has called me to do). As I read about the circumstances surrounding this unflinching soul who labored long and hard despite opposition from many forces, I am struck by this man's focus on his objective to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (no matter what).
No doubt, Nehemiah, like all of us, caught the glorious vision of restoring what enemies had destroyed, for God's honor and as a testimony of hope for the future of God's people. When he realized the depth of destruction that had occurred, Nehemiah sat down and wept. Sound familiar? I wonder how many of us have the same reaction to --- the national news, our local news, even to daily reports from our closest friends and family?
Of course, the appropriate reaction to any report of injury, loss, and destruction is to sit down and weep. But Nehemiah didn't stop with the natural reaction; he took the news of the catastrophe and went straight to God.
Nehemiah's bold prayer of faith, of great expectation even, is the kind of prayer I'm offering up to the Lord these days because I know my one and only hope lies in the deliverance that God alone can supply.
Reading about the days that followed Nehemiah's gathering of workers and supplies, I marvel at not only how hard they worked, but how they worked --- each one with his weapon in his hand. Nehemiah and his people were always building and watching. In other words, they had a job to do, but they were wise enough to stay on alert to the dangers that always accompany a work of faith (seen and unseen).
"But I (Nehemiah) prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands.'" (See Nehemiah 6:9)
Nehemiah, terrific leader that he was, proved himself strong in faith as well as street smarts. He knew instinctively what I often forget. God can call us to a work; but it's up to us to make sure we have our equipment, our supplies, and our weapons at the ready because opposition is always lurking just outside our line of vision.
For me, when I have a job to do, my best work (for God) comes only after I've counted the cost and prepared for the task at hand. For all of us, preparation comes in many guises…and there'll be a price to pay, a burden we willingly take on, and sacrifices we'll gladly make the moment God calls us. And yet, we can only complete the job with God's sovereign intervention.
He puts the burden upon our heart to accomplish for Him something we can only do through Him…and each step of the way, with our hand upon our weapon (of faith), He gives us the gift of conscious reliance upon His moment by moment provision. We're only truly suited for serving well when we truly understand the depth of our dependence upon Him.
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Michele is the author of twelve books for women and has published over 1600 articles, reviews, and curriculum. Her single parenting titles include, Going It Alone and Still Going It Alone. Her newest release is, One Size Fits All: Making Healthy Choices, Stepping Into a Meaningful Life, a women's health/inspirational devotional by Lighthouse of the Carolinas. Read more of Michele's work at http://michelehowe.wordpress.com/ and contact Michele at: [email protected].
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