Is there anything weighing on you today? Are there concerns in your heart that perhaps keep you awake in the night? How about problems that you want to keep private, but perhaps if a trustworthy person could see through you and ask confidentially what’s going on, you might just open up?
I’ve got a troubling situation eating at me. It has kept me up at night. The options in dealing with this situation are unpleasant. Relationships are at stake and there are potentially harsh impacts to some people no matter the current apparent solution.
Through much practice and learning from many mistakes in the past, I’m in a better habit of noticing these situations and quickly giving them over to God. I don’t pray specifically for him to fix it, I pray for him to take this burden from me. To reveal himself for his glory. To guide my heart. To remind me that the problems of this world are not mine to worry about. To forgive me for trying to control a situation on my own and for my worry.
The ensuing peace after this time in prayer is indescribable. We have a king, a father, who loves us, who knows our hearts and wants us to go directly to him with our troubles. He doesn’t want us to try to hide our problems or for us to worry, he wants us to make him lord of all things in our lives. And we can do this because he has proven himself worthy over and over again.
Today’s reading: Nehemiah 2
Nehemiah was a servant to the king. The time period is believed to have been around 444 BC.
In today’s reading, Nehemiah was suffering from deep sadness that he could no longer contain. As the king becomes aware of Nehemiah’s sadness, Nehemiah becomes fearful.
Why fear? Wouldn’t we want someone to know of our sadness and inquire as to what is going on? Well, not exactly in this case. It was against policy to show sadness in the king’s presence, and further as we learn in Esther 4:11, one could be put to death for approaching the king without being summoned.
Like our God and King, the king in Nehemiah 2 could have responded harshly, however he responded with love, grace, and mercy. The king listened and responded and responded favorably to Nehemiah’s requests.
Learning from Nehemiah’s examples:
- Nehemiah used his position of power (favor from the king) to serve God rather than himself. What opportunities are before us today where we could choose to serve Jesus rather than ourselves?
- While Nehemiah does convey that he was fearful, he also faces the fear with boldness in God’s name. Who and what can we fear when we know that God has it all in his hands? Nothing!
- Nehemiah appeared to have been prepared when he was given the opportunity to ask the king for a favor. We must always be prepared in the name of Jesus. “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15)
- Nehemiah attributes to God what should be attributed to God. How often do we praise ourselves or fail to acknowledge God when we see victory? “And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.” (Nehemiah 2:8b)
- Nehemiah called people to action (again using his power to serve God) and they followed. I believe they followed him because he stayed close to God, he proved himself worthy of being a leader, he was committed to the cause, and he was able to articulate the mission to the people as a matter of logic and heart.
- When facing opposition, Nehemiah boldly relied on God’s promises. Again, fearlessness and proving to be a leader worthy of following.
Father God, we seek your wisdom today. Give us the courage and the words to proclaim the truth about who you are and why we serve you. Give us also the wisdom to keep silent when we should just listen instead of talking. Help us to become better leaders and better followers, in your son Jesus’ name and for your glory. Amen.