What do you do when the devastatingly unexpected happens? When cancer shows up on a routine medical visit? Or when an out of country vacation leads to a serious illness? Or when a spouse reveals they have been in a secret affair for months?
“But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshiped” Nehemiah 1:9 (CEV).
In the book of Nehemiah, we read that the Jews were in a similar predicament. Life had taken them by surprise: they had been attacked, taken captive, and had lost their homes. Some of them had escaped, but even in their freedom they still experienced heartache. They came back to a ruined city, to crumbled walls. They were disgraced. And they had no idea how to repair their city for safety and for dignity.
God in his grace used the prophet Nehemiah to give the Jews hope again, and Nehemiah interceded on their behalf. They were in a mess — with no fixed address and no city to protect them. Plus, they had forgotten the miracles of the past. They had ignored God’s promises and had lost all hope.
But Nehemiah stood in the gap. He prayed, “Please remember the promise you made to Moses. You told him that if we were unfaithful, you would scatter us among foreign nations. But you also said that no matter how far away we were, we could turn to you and start obeying your laws. Then you would bring us back to the place where you have chosen to be worshiped. Our Lord, I am praying for your servants...” (Nehemiah 1:8-10a, CEV).
God was faithful then and he is still faithful today. The Jews needed a new perspective and a new start to re-build not only their homes, but also their lives.
Maybe you can relate. Are you feeling like the people of Israel right now? Is life overwhelming and unbearable?
A few years ago, I stood in a similar place. I needed to rebuild my world. I found myself with a broken marriage and a broken heart, and I began to look for another home, a new start, and a fresh perspective. I had to choose to either live in ruin or slowly rebuild my life, one brick at a time.
Sometimes, you need to gain perspective on your situation, especially in the midst of tragedy, heartache, selfishness, or a sense of hopelessness. You need to reflect, to sit quietly, and to determine healthy changes in your personal life. This process allows you to re-build your character, acknowledging that you have worth in God’s eyes.
Are you willing to ask God to fulfill his promise to refresh and rebuild your life? Or, maybe you are a Nehemiah who can help and intercede for others and encourage those in need.
Once you take the step of obedience, he will help you move ahead. Because God is in the business of rebuilding broken lives.
Nehemiah 6:16 says, “On the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, the wall was completely rebuilt. It had taken fifty-two days.” It happened for them, and it can happen for you, too!