Our church building is currently undergoing major building renovations - so our vicar has been focussing on Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem during our services recently.
What has really struck me is that – no matter how bad the circumstances – Nehemiah prayed to God, and trusted in Him. He and his fellow workers were being mocked and ridiculed, they were despised and threatened with attack, yet Nehemiah simply says, ‘Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God.’ And, of course, we know the end of the story … Nehemiah’s trust in God was rewarded: the plot against him and his workers came to nothing and the work that God had given him to do: the work of rebuilding the walls was completed.
I drove past a sign outside another church a while ago that made me smile. It said:
"PROFESSIONALS BUILT THE TITANIC. AN AMATEUR BUILT THE ARK!"
Noah had that same trust in God in the face of others’ doubt that Nehemiah had. He had never undertaken the building of a boat on such a scale before, but when others mocked, he persevered in trusting his God, who was directing the work of his hands. And he and his family were saved.
And … what about you? When the odds seem stacked against you … when others doubt that God will bring you through your present difficulties, or doubt the work that He has called you to. Or when you struggle with those kind of doubts yourself. Do you become despondent and give up … or like Nehemiah, say: ‘Nevertheless I make my prayer to my God’?
When I was walking through dealing with the painful issues of my past with the Lord, there were many times when I just wanted to give up. It was the stories of people, missionaries like Amy Carmichael, who had that Nehemiah attitude and faith in God that inspired me to keep going, to press into Him. They never gave up trusting in their God through the most extreme, dangerous and comfortless circumstances, in places far from home. They were people who didn’t give up. They knew their God. They held on to Him. Nevertheless, they prayed to their God.
Prayer: Father God, thank You for those special people whose amazing stories we read, who have gone before us, who weren’t swayed by other people’s responses when they were experiencing extreme and difficult situations, but chose instead to pray and put their trust firmly in You. I’m sorry, Lord, for the times when I have been tempted to give up and walk away. Please help me to have that first response in life’s difficulties: ‘Nevertheless, I make my prayer to my God’ and to firmly put my trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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