We tore down our outside shed to put up a new one. Tearing down the shed, cleaning up the space, and hauling away the old pieces, took 2 hours. It wasn’t hard and kind of fun. But then, when we started the rebuild of the shed, it took five full days. It occurred to me that while I was busy tearing down, it meant that I couldn’t be busy rebuilding. I know this is a weird transition, but it reminded me of Nehemiah. And maybe it was an easy reminder as the Choose to Soar team is studying Nehemiah as we rebuild our ministry.
If you are not familiar with the story, Nehemiah had a burden to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, his hometown, after it had been in shambles for over 90 years. Through prayer, strategy, leadership, perseverance, and incredible God appointments, although the prep was 12 years, he rebuilt the walls in 52 days. The rest of the story is about the rebuilding of the people within the walls. This rebuild attracted so much opposition, but Nehemiah handled it beautifully. I encourage you to read his story.
Perhaps you are in a rebuilding stage? Maybe rebuilding a marriage, a career, health, or maybe you are rebuilding after a loss. Rebuilding is not for sissies. It is hard! But be encouraged by Nehemiah, who faced ridicule, attacks (because of his success), distraction, discomfort, and discouragement. All rebuilders encounter these things one way or another. Two steps forward and one step back may be your dance for a little while, but what you will see from this story is Nehemiah did a couple of brilliant things to fight the opposition.
The very first thing he did was pray! Well, actually, Nehemiah prayed more than he planned. That is the first brilliant move. He prayed before, during, and after the rebuild. You get the picture. When the opposition attacked, he didn’t ignore it, and he didn’t stop building either. I’m sure everyone has experienced this before, but if we stop to address the attacks, we will never get back to rebuilding. Instead, we will spend our life fighting against our oppositions (family, faith, health, career, etc.) So, we learn to build while we fight the opposition.
When your opposition comes in the form of discouragement (usually from people you know), restore your confidence. Look for a place to serve and encourage someone else. When we are not serving, we tend to get discouraged and lost in our thoughts, which is never good! That is a breeding ground for depression.
There are several more insights about fighting opposition, but I want to leave you with this. Nehemiah tells the families that are rebuilding the walls, “Don’t be afraid of them (the one causing the opposition). Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” We are to remember the Lord. Our confidence doesn’t come from our ever-changing circumstances; our encouragement, our confidence comes from the Lord. Psalm 103:2 tells us to Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. To paraphrase- When we forget what God did, we will stop believing what God will do.
O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants. Nehemiah 1:5-6 In Jesus’ name, Amen.