I listened to her quiet crying over the phone. My soul ached to make it better but, as usual, there was nothing I could do right now except listen.
I prayed as she talked, God what can I do? And the thing He showed me is this: I can’t make a happy ending for her. Shoot, she can’t make the happy ending. This is not consoling. I am frustrated and tired of sadness and hopelessness. As I sat there holding the phone I thought: What is happening here? What are you saying, Lord? Where is the hope?
I saw my tattered-$6-basic-been-around-the-world Bible. I reached for that Light.
God brought me to Nehemiah. An ancient Old Testament guy, who saw some miracles in his lifetime.
Listen, God said, I am speaking through this old old story:
Nehemiah loved God with all his heart. But he was far from home, his place of worship and his support group of friends who believed like him. He had only his faith in the LORD to keep him going. As a matter of fact, his homeland was destroyed and his temple was in ruins. When he discovered this news, he wept at the enormity of the devastation to his people, his beliefs. So he prayed and fasted to ease his grieving mind. I can just imagine that he pleaded with God to send warriors and skilled craftsmen to rebuild his city and temple. He could just see gifted architects and strong young men rebuilding the fortifying walls around his home again. After all Nehemiah wasn’t a laborer, he was a servant in the royal courts.
His job: cup bearer to the King.
Cup bearer: serves the King drinks. Sometimes must take the first swallow in order to prove it isn’t poisoned. Knows royal protocol and is basically a royal servant on the order of a butler…
Not a builder.
Not an architect.
And certainly not a young buck who can haul stones for a wall.
But God had other plans. He wanted His city fortified. His people called to repentance and taught His Word once again. He wanted to restore them and show His glory to them and through them once again. He chose to make this happen using the most unlikely man in the most unlikely way.
And guess what happened? Nehemiah risked his life in asking the King for some time off to go rebuild this wall…
and he got it along with the King’s blessing.
He faced a lot of opposition while he was in Jerusalem, but that wall got built in an astonishing 52 days. (When was the last time you saw a construction project that got done ahead of time?)
Every time I read Nehemiah I hear God say:
Not everything in life turns out the way you expect it to. I am most glorified when the broken, ill equipped, and flawed people are put in situations where they cannot possibly make anything happen on their own. Be open to my way of working in your life. Trust me.
You and I would have never chosen Nehemiah to get this job done. But God did and He is still glorified for it today.
I don’t think you and I would have chosen a prostitute to protect the next leader of the Israelites either.
Or a runty little shepherd boy to be King of Israel.
Or a Beauty queen to save all the Jews from execution.
Or fishermen to be evangelists.
Or a Pharisee to teach about grace.
Or the son of a teenage mother to save the world.
So when life is looking impossibly hopeless and all the plans you have tried to fulfill to make things happen are shattered and destroyed, be encouraged. God is finally able to get to work in your life to make miracles happen. If you will only let Him.
He who created life out of dirt can make hope and happiness come out of the most broken, ill equipped, flawed, and faithful people on earth.
New King James Version (NKJV)
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
The Wall that Nehemiah Built http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBA&Volume=35&Issue=2&ArticleID=7