Today I’m sharing an adaptation of a popular post I wrote a few years ago. It seems to have been helpful then, and I think it is relevant in new ways at this time in our nation and our individual lives.
There’s a book in the Bible about a man named Nehemiah.
He was brokenhearted over the fact that the city of Jerusalem was in ruins, and after praying to God about it, he embarked on a mission to rebuild the walls.
I love this story for a number of reasons.
First of all, I’m moved that someone saw devastation and cared enough to find out how he could help. I feel this way when I hear stories of people whose lives have been ruined. Maybe it was destroyed by a natural disaster, or because of another person’s selfish action, or even by their own poor choices, but whatever the reason, the ruins of someone’s life solicit a compassionate longing to help them rebuild.
I believe that’s how God feels about us.
Secondly, I love that Nehemiah took action. After he grieved for a city that lay in ruins, he asked God to help him and then set out to obtain permission, supplies and a group of people to rebuild the city even though he “was very much afraid.” The king granted him all the time and supplies he needed. Words can communicate compassion, but action shows love.
God gives us time and what we need to rebuild. He’s patient.
Next, it encourages me that Nehemiah didn’t give up, even when his group came up against so much opposition. A local official ridiculed and tormented the people, asking them what they thought they were doing. Lies were flung at them to convince them that their efforts were in vain, that their attempts were feeble and inadequate. Too much was ruined. The rubble couldn’t be reclaimed for a purpose.
I’ve heard those same lies so many times.
At one point in my life, I was exhausted from working to hold together my marriage and my family. My strength was giving out because of unresolved daily conflicts, and my determination to stay married in spite of a horribly dysfunctional situation. My children were showing the effects of living under the strain in our home. I was certain that the “rubble” was too much to wade through. Nothing seemed salvageable.
So God showed me this story about Nehemiah.
Finally, I love the story because God has a plan for rebuilding. As I studied Nehemiah’s situation, I saw some applications for my life. For me the plan looked like this:
- Fight for my family even if it meant doing things that seemed to tear us apart. I had to separate from my ex-husband in order to allow us to deal with issues. Pulling out of most of our activities became necessary so we could focus on our family.
- Concentrate on what God wanted to change in me. Allow God to heal me and leave my husband and marriage in His hands. Success for me would depend on what God did in my life.
- Set up a guard against the things that crept in to hurt my relationships with God and my children. For me those things were fatigue, busyness, not making time for them, and trying to figure everything out without seeking God.
- Put God ahead of my marriage. I had been setting my desire for the “perfect marriage” ahead of God. I compromised truth in order to keep peace. My fear caused me to push aside things God tried to tell me even when they would have helped me. I stayed in a place God had tried to release me from and didn’t ask me to stay in.
- Be aware of Satan’s plot to destroy us and our family. I had to choose to fight for the well-being of myself and my children even when the enemy told me to give up because it wouldn’t be worth it. Recognizing the lies of the enemy is imperative, but not always easy. We have to be so alert. Nehemiah had the people keep a weapon in one hand while they built with the other.
Rebuilding our lives can be scary.
We can’t see all that lies ahead. It’s like driving on the darkest road or in dense fog at night. Our headlights only shine far enough for us to keep moving. We drive as far as we can see, and as we drive, the path is illuminated ahead of us.
Rebuilding happens one day at a time.
We can’t look too far ahead or worry about what will come. Instead we have to trust God to provide what we need for that day. When I look ahead and start to worry about the future, God asks
Do you have what you need today? Can you believe I’ve got a good plan?
The answer is always “yes.” I always have what I need today. When the next day comes, I have what I need again. Nothing surprises God. He’s already seen all of our life and has a great plan for it. We can trust him to bring restoration to every area of our lives.
His plan rarely turns out to be what we think we need or want.
It’s actually far better. The marriage I once tried so desperately to hold together fell apart. My ex-husband went his own way, but about eight years later God brought me an incredible man – my true love and soul mate . We will celebrate our eighth anniversary in a couple of months. (Read our story.)
God continues to rebuild our lives and the lives of our seven children and nine grandchildren. We are committed to an amazing church family where we are growing and able to serve others in our community. While we still have struggles, God is bringing such healing and joy to our daily lives. We praise him for the way he has redeemed our past and rebuilt on the ruins.How is God rebuilding your life?