God, I have believed in the lie that I am on my own. I am so preoccupied with managing my life, my busy-ness, my fears for the future.
I let myself submerge in the noise around me – perhaps a relaxation response. Now, I have become so used to being tired, tensed and torn. I am consumed by it. And worse, I have become comfortably numb.
God, You call me to be still. Why?
You want me to be freed from my-self. You want me to break free from the drudgery of life.
You want me to enjoy bliss. How can I if my mind is clogged, my heart is crowded, my thinking is clouded and my life so confused.
God you call me to be still! It isn’t easy. I can’t be still till I know you are God – in control. Help me know your power to make and to remake, to rule and to over rule, to form and to transform. I stand helpless.
Help me see, feel and know you. I will know you God and be still. I will be still and know you are God.
God! Make-believe myths in the media proclaim you are a clever man’s idea. That you are dead, buried and gone! But, I know you.
You aren’t a clever man’s idea. You aren’t a figment of my imagination. You aren’t an emotional crutch! A measure of our pain. An imagined superhero in our flights of fancy. You are real. You are alive. You are my maker. Your love is real!
Father! So happy to be your child!
I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem (1:2)
Nehemiah was at the citadel at Susa. Like many others who had been displaced from their native land, Nehemiah had apparently ‘made it’ against all odds. He had achieved social mobility and held an influential position that made him walk through the corridors of power. And yet, when some of his friends and relatives had visited them he enquired about the state of affairs in Jerusalem. Why would Nehemiah care for the remnant and the city of Jerusalem? Why should he?
It would have been far more easier to turn the other way. It would have been far more easier to talk about the grandeur of the Persian empire. But, Nehemiah was genuinely concerned. He was not comfortably numb about the ravages of war and its aftermath. This concern is much more than a mere ‘heart-connect’ with his ancestral roots. Vision truly begins with genuine concern. Genuine concern cannot be manufactured. If the concern is mere a plastic mask, then the language, zeal, energy will soon fade away. A borrowed concern cannot fuel a vision.
Nehemiah made an effort to know of the state of affairs because he was genuinely concerned. What are you hearing – seeing and reading these days? Are you are genuinely concerned about these issues?
Remember, Vision – a preferred future – begins with genuine concern. Genuine concern shows – in what you read, hear, see and share. It is the first step for building a Vision.
Questions for further conversations
1) What are the issues you are concerned with in your context/s? How are you engaging with the issues in your context/s?
2) What are the questions you are asking to know more about the prevailing conditions in your contexts? What is that you are hearing?
3) To whom are you asking these questions?
I was a cupbearer to the king – Nehemiah 1: 11
He was not a priest. Not a prophet. Just a layman in government service. But, he was in a position of influence. He was in a position of favour. God used him, his position and his proximity to the king to fulfill His plans and purposes. No one else was better suited for this task. Herein lies a challenge to all those who want to leave secular jobs and enter God’s service as a second career. May God help us see our jobs as a calling. You never know what God has in store for you.
Questions for further discussion
1) How can my (mundane) job be a calling? Do I know Why I got to be where I am today?
2) How can I use my position (of influence) to leverage an advantage for God’s kingdom?
3) How can I make my expertise available for God?
They told me, “The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.”
Broken walls. Burned gates. Is there a conviction that things ought to be different and perhaps better? God is concerned about the broken down walls and burned gates. We don’t have to give-in or give-up. The book of Nehemiah leaps into relevance. It gives us inspiration for rebuilding. Come! Let us rebuild. We can and we must.
Questions for discussion:
1) What are the things that are brought to your notice? How are you affected by these things?
2) How easy is it to turn the other way? What are things that make us give-in or give-up?
3) How do we translate our conviction to rebuild into concrete action?