It’s been a good weekend. Peaceful. One of those weekends where you can get a lot done. What makes it better is that I was able to hit the path I used to walk on while unemployed. God and I had some good conversations on that long walk.
This weekend I revisited that path, and I discovered God was still there. Today my journey forward on the path had me looking back over the last 3 years. A lot happened in that time.
- One career ended
- the possibility of another one began, then ended
- the blog was birthed
- the blog crashed and then restored
- part time seasonal jobs came and went.
The past and the present were uniting as my mind replayed the events. One word kept resurfacing.
Rebuild what? That was my initial thought. And I asked, “don’t you mean build?” Apparently not because the word appeared again.
To build is to begin something new. When we build we have hopes, dreams, and expectations. But, when we rebuild we are putting something back together. I looked up the definition of rebuild. Trusting on the reliable source of Google it said, “build (something) again after it has been damaged or destroyed.” Damaged or destroyed.
Nehemiah then flashed across my thoughts. He was a cup-bearer to the king in Babylon. He held the position that was between the king and death. He was trusted. He was a Jew that was taken from his home in Jerusalem, and now lived in exile in Babylon. He had learned his home was in ruins.
“They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” Neh. 1:3 NLT
When we rebuild things are different than they were before the damage or destruction. At the beginning of 2012, my life was on track. I had a goal, work was good, and I earned a good living. I always lived frugally so savings were good. God had blessed me. And then, it happened.
In the fall of 2012 was the beginning of the decent. Careers came and went, I had no idea what I was supposed to do, and slowly my savings was declining. Little did I know then it would decline all the way to the end. On my walk God showed me through my memories the contrast between then and now.
When Nehemiah had left Jerusalem the wall was up. I’m sure there was some damage because the Babylonians had invaded Jerusalem and taken articles from the temple.
“Then his army burned the temple of God, tore down the walls of Jerusalem, burned all the palaces, and completely destroyed everything of value.” 2 Chron. 36:19 NLT
After some time had passed Nehemiah received word that the city was in great distress. Of course it was, the wall had been torn down. The wall served as protection keeping invaders out. The people were left vulnerable to attacks.
My mind replayed the events when the news reported all the people that had lost everything in the great recession. When people lost homes, savings, and jobs. At that time, I had only heard of stories. Thankfully, I did not lose my home, but over the three years my savings evaporated. I would find myself in adopting the way I lived in my early twenties when I was just beginning in my career. Like millions of others the time had arrived.
Many had lost their protection. Before you decide to email me I am not saying my protection came from money. I am not saying their protection came from things. I am not saying the Jews protection came from a wall. I am saying with a savings account you have some leeway for emergencies. With a home, you have protection from the elements, living in a car, or on the streets. And, with a wall you have protection from invaders. They are means, not the end.
There is a wall that needs rebuilding and Nehemiah is the one to lead the people to do it. With rebuilding there is more work required, than with building. When Nehemiah had the wall rebuilt God had people help him. The people of Jerusalem had rallied and each took a specific section. When it’s time to rebuild others will help (Neh. 3).
“They replied at once, “Yes let’s rebuild the wall! So they began the good work.” Neh. 2:18b NLT
God prepares the hearts of individuals that will help with the rebuilding. While Nehemiah and the others were rebuilding the wall they had to also keep watch for invaders. Their task was three fold.
- Work on the wall
- Keep watch
- Stay focused
While they were working on the wall opposition meet them face to face. Their excitement turned to exasperation. Their delight to despair. Others had Oppose, mocked, and ridiculed, them in an effort to deter their efforts.
“They all made plans to come and fight against Jerusalem and throw us into confusion.” Neh. 4:8 NLT
When that happened they prayed to God, complained, and doubted. When I read that I chucked, I found that to be true in my life. The sigh of relief came after that I am not alone. Many times I have prayed, complained, and doubted, all in the same breath.
“Then the people of Judah began to complain…we can’t do it…they will attack us!” Neh. 4:10-12 NLT
When we rebuild like the Jews in Jerusalem we have to keep going. Stay focused, and when opposition comes echo the words of Nehemiah –
“Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for…!” Neh. 4:14 NLT
I left the end of that verse off because I want to ask you – what are you fighting for? What are you rebuilding? Whatever it is you can fill in the end of the verse. For me, I am rebuilding what was damaged. Thus far it is a slow process, but I know I will get there. And when opposition comes to try and deter me, I will proclaim –
“They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could discourage us and stop the work. So I continued to work with greater determination.” Neh. 6:9 NLT
My encouragement will come from Nehemiah’s efforts! Did you catch the last two words? Greater determination. We must have greater determination when we rebuild. The work will be harder.
If you are rebuilding whether it be personally, professionally, or both, be encouraged! Let us use Nehemiah as an example and have greater determination. Whether you are just beginning, half-way there, or almost done:
Whether you have to end and begin all over again, be encouraged.
“So on October 2* the wall was finished – just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God.” Neh. 6:15 NLT
There is an end, and in that end God will receive his credit due. Keep going. Don’t give up. Stay focused and –
Rebuild my friend, Rebuild.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*pictures by catt, presteriarchive, thisoldhoue, pinterest