What we can learn from Nehemiah about helping our broken world
The role a pastor plays today is not an easy one. Our society is divided, angry and wounded. But know that you are not alone. Much like you, Nehemiah was tasked with rebuilding a broken world. We can learn a lot from his story—and get the encouragement we need to move forward.
LET YOUR HEART BREAK
In the book of Nehemiah, we find him broken and crying. A foreign government had overtaken God’s city, but Nehemiah wasn’t crying over this. He was upset over a broken part of the wall. Considering everything that was happening, a broken wall seems to be the smallest possible thing Nehemiah could be sad over, yet this was the cause of his tears.
Much like Nehemiah, we may be heartbroken over something that is seemingly small in comparison to everything else going on in today’s world. No matter the reason you are hurting or how insignificant it may seem, know it is OK to cry.
Not only is it OK to cry, but it may be necessary in order to move toward action, and even more so, it may be the humble response God needs from you in order to work in your situation. Nehemiah’s world only started to come back together when he cried. Let your heart break; shed some tears. The Scriptures are clear the sacrifice God wants is a broken heart.
TURN TO PRAYER
As Nehemiah’s world was crumbling and he began trying to rebuild, we see him take time to spend with God in prayer. Nehemiah knew that God was the only one who could put the world back together, and he turns to the Lord before doing anything else.
Over and over again in the Bible, we see Jesus retreating to spend time with his Father in prayer. Let him be an example to you in this season.
LOOK TO THE END
In The Comedy of Redemption, Ralph Wood explains that in all of Shakespeare’s plays the audience didn’t know if they were in a tragedy or a comedy until the third act, or the crux of the play. In this act, the audience is finally able to determine whether the play will have a tragic ending or if everything will be all right in the end.
In the story of the world, the crux of the play is the cross. Jesus’ death and resurrection made it clear that we are not in a tragedy. We know who wins, and we know that everything will be OK.
LOOK FOR UNPRECEDENTED RESOURCES
After spending time in prayer, Nehemiah turned to a foreign king for help with the rebuilding. It was unprecedented that another country’s ruler would play a role in rebuilding the city of God, yet he does. Consider what unexpected resources God may be giving you to help rebuild your world.
Having spent time in prayer and after receiving the necessary resources, Nehemiah is now able to rebuild. Nehemiah is unable to do this on his own, so he seeks volunteers. The first people who begin to rebuild and defend the city are the priests. They were able to rebuild the city in record time—just 26 days. As you rebuild your world, look for unexpected people who are called and willing. Those God is using to rebuild right now are the ones who will be leading in the future.
The story of Nehemiah shows God doing big things in unforeseen ways. The same God who was with Nehemiah is with us today, and he is still doing big things. As you walk through this difficult season, remember that God can and will do more than you could ever imagine.