Recently I read through Nehemiah with She Reads Truth and was struck by the simplicity and wisdom he used when faced with a crisis that (literally and figuaratively) hit close to home
The story starts in late autumn. You know, the magnificent time of year when all the pumpkin stuff comes out at Trader Joes.
Nehemiah was living away from home in a castle and his brother and some friends came to visit. The conversation (like it naturally does) turns toward home. Harvy got a promotion, they put a new stoplight in on main street, the new Childrens museum opened and the kids love it.
Only the news brought by these guests was bleak. In Jerusalem things were going very poorly. It was all disarray and disgrace. The news was so grim Nehemiah lost it. He just sat there and cried. For days.
What a heart. What would you do if you heard your hometown was a disaster zone? I would have words like, “Dude, that’s the pits” or “someone’s GOT to do SOMETHING!” but that would probably be the end of it. It would have made sense for him to be upset but soon enough go on with his pretty sweet life in the castle.
People like Nehemiah are recorded in the Bible for a reason though. What he did next is noteworthy.
1. He prayed. He didn’t worry. He didn’t make lists and charge off into the night to fix it immediately. Also, he didn’t find something else to get his mind off it. He didn’t go to Target, he didn’t go for a run or see what was on Netflix. Nehemiah 1:4 says he prayed.
2. He prayed using God’s own words. This, my friend, is an indication that he read scripture. For those of us who claim faith, we need to be reading our Bibles. That’s honestly why I started following along with the She Reads Truth gals. It took away my “I don’t know what to read so I won’t” excuse. It’s been good for me. Try it with me?
Oh, one more thing. During this disaster, He just happened to be the king’s cupbearer. I just love the bomb he drops here at the end of chapter 1. “Hey and did I mention I happen to have a position of high power and authority? Yeah. I see the king a couple times a day. No big deal.” Whaaaat?! It IS a big deal, Nehemiah. Stop it.
Can you see what God is about to do here? The pieces are in place. We have a problem with the Jews (who God happens to like a lot) and a godly person in a position of influence. This is going to be good.
Some questions for you:
Who in your circle are things “not going well” for? What practical action can you take to help? Our church focuses on hunger specifically in June and we all bring food items and serve at various shelters throughout the city all month. It was good for my kids to see us meeting needs of people we don’t know because, honestly, at this point the people they see on a daily basis are doing pretty well.
In those days Nehemiah was the king’s cup bearer. In these days, what are you? It’s strategic. This was a challenging thought to me because my typical day can seem more mundane than strategic. Viewing my daily tasks as part of a divine strategy helps me engage differently.
What are your thoughts on these questions? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!