I also told them about the gracious hand of my
God upon me and what the king had said to
me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.”
So they began this good work.
Nehemiah 2:18 NIV
Over the past few days, violent storms and several tornadoes have devastated both the landscape and lives of many across our nation. Because of the path of the storms, some have lost everything for the second time within a three year period. At last count, the death toll from these storms has reached thirty-five.
Heart-broken, I watched the evening news and listened to interviews with some who had lost everything except life. One ladies entire home was destroyed leaving only the front door standing tall. I caught my breath as the camera panned across the scene and focused on the door zooming in to reveal a cross still hanging where it had been placed by the homeowner.
I thought about how these Americans will not only have to rebuild a home, but many of them will have to rebuild a life. How do you do that? How does a man, who has lost absolutely everything, rebuild? How does a woman, who has lost it all, rebuild? Where do you begin when there is death and destruction in every direction? How does your heart heal from the loss of a child or a husband or a wife or a parent? Where do you go for help when everyone around you has lost something; a home, a business or a loved one?
Nehemiah knew the answer to those questions. His beloved city of Jerusalem had been ravaged and the wall surrounding the city destroyed. He was told that those who survived the exile and returned to Jerusalem were in trouble and disgrace. In Nehemiah 1:4 we read that when he heard those things, he sat down and wept. For several days he mourned, fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. He reminded God that the Jews were His chosen ones and asked for favor and success as he went before the king.
Nehemiah knew where to turn in his time of trouble and heartache. First he turned to the God of heaven. He praised Him and reminded Him that He (God) is a covenant keeper. He confessed his sin and the sin of his people the Nation of Israel and reminded God of His promise to gather the exiles scattered across the earth and “bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name” (Nehemiah 1:9) if they would return to God and obey His commands. He asked God to hear him and grant him favor and success as he went before the king. God granted Nehemiah’s plea for help and the king granted Nehemiah everything he needed to begin rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem.
Thousands of years later, life still throws the unexpected and the ugly in our direction. The sun rises and life seems good yet by sunset the good life can appear to be gone forever. But God still rescues His children in times of trouble. He is the rebuilder of walls—walls around a home and walls around a heart.
Today, if you are facing devastation and heartache, remember Nehemiah’s plan. Seek God and give Him glory. Confess your sin. If you are His child, do not be afraid to ask for His favor and success as you begin rebuilding. If you have never trusted Christ as Savior, that is step one. Then, the gracious hand of God will be upon you as you begin the work.
I promise you are not alone! Let’s get started.
© Joyce Powell