The book of Nehemiah is a book filled with intrigue, with vision, with risk-taking and out-of-comfort-zone directions. Nehemiah himself threw caution to the wind, grabbed tightly to the coattails of the vision God had given him and pressed on with the intensity of a warrior going into battle. He was the cup-bearer to a king, yet he was broken by the trashed out, rubble-piled wall around Jerusalem. He saw what could be and what should be.
In the quietness of a moment in time, the Lord tapped Nehemiah on the shoulder and in no uncertain words, told him what to do. He must rebuild the wall. Nehemiah was a bold-pray-er, a God-believer, an innovator and a ‘never say die’ maniac. He knew his mission and he wasn’t going down without a fight or until the last brick was in place and the last door was hung.
But Nehemiah had detractors. He had people who were power-hungry, angry, scheming, intimidated and on edge. One of them was a governor named Sanballat. To say he was teed off at what Nehemiah was doing, would be an understatement. He was livid. He tried everything to keep Nehemiah from succeeding in rebuilding the wall. He laughed, mocked, threatened, contrived military plans, designed assassination attempts and tried to distract Nehemiah from his ONE objective and his only mission.
About 12 years ago, I got to know Nehemiah; not literally of course, but through his story and through a book called “Visioneering” by Andy Stanley that expounds on Nehemiah’s amazing journey. In a strange way, I relate to Nehemiah. Not to the wall building business, but construction of a different sort; family building. A vision was birthed in my heart and soul, manifested in a variety of ways, and culminated in my work to help find families for waiting kids.
Answering God’s call on your life is not only a game-changer, it’s a life changer. It is risky business. And there will be detractors, people who want the mission to be scrubbed, the status quo to reign and for you to be out of the picture. People just like Sanballat.
I have a Sanballat. And it is hard. I am frustrated. I am irritated. I am exhausted. I am ‘weary in well-doing’. But I am pressing on. Rebuilding the wall wasn’t Nehemiah’s idea, it was God’s. Zero isn’t my idea, it’s God’s. He is able. He is willing. And every Sanballat in the history of the world can’t touch the power and intention of the God of the universe.
The wall of Jerusalem was complete in an astounding 52 days, God was glorified, and Sanballat went home with his tail between his legs. God is in the business of doing the impossible. He is the winner. He is faithful. God continues to push me and to call me out to do four things: Dream Big, Pray Bold, Stand Firm and Press On. Like Nehemiah, I want to have the courage to fix my eyes on the vision and the vision-giver!