… the God of heaven will give us success (Nehemiah 2:20).
When you are faced by the ruins of a lost life, it is hard to picture how it can all be rebuilt. You may remember what it was once like, which would give you a clue about what it might be like again once the necessary work has been completed.
Then again, with everything reduced to ground zero, it could be hard to imagine that anything good could rise from the ashes of destruction.
It’s good to get on with the task of reconstruction but sometimes it’s best to keep to the old proverb; “less haste, more speed.” We can’t begin to consider the nature of the rebuild until we’ve assessed the scale of the ruins. Broken down walls are reflected in broken lives and we need to make sure that we see and learn as much as possible about where we are, before we begin to move forward.
This has clear implications for where we find ourselves today but it was replicated by the circumstances Nehemiah encountered in Jerusalem. Where he saw gates and walls ruined by fire, we see our everyday lives overwhelmed by the impact of a powerful enemy, albeit an invisible one, but which is ultimately no less destructive.
Plans are being made for a post lockdown world … at least, one that will arrive in stages: neither Rome nor Jerusalem were built in a day. The tentative steps towards the return to our “normal” reflect detailed modelling and expert opinion- despite what some might claim, I’m sure there is method here rather than madness.
Nehemiah went off by himself to see how things were. At times, he had to get off his mount (probably a donkey) to scramble over the rocks but, in the end, there was no part of the ruins he didn’t visit. Not even the rubbish chute, the Dung Gate, was left out.
… let us start rebuilding (Nehemiah 2:18)
I love the “us” in Nehemiah’s call to action. It’s not a job for one person but a vision for a community and can/will only happen if that group of people truly owns what they hear. No matter what the opposition says, no matter what the hurdles are or will be, with God’s help the rebuilding will not only begin but the job – big as it is – will be completed and will stand as a sign of God’s blessing.
Reconstruction is not the province of any small group or one gifted leader today. We are all part of it – let’s make sure we can follow Nehemiah’s call by seeking our own independent assessment of needs and then being bold enough to deliver, whatever the challenge may be. Whatever we build, may it be a beacon for God in our generation. After all, it’s only He who will grant us true success.