There have been only a few times in my life when direct reassurement has come by way of scripture. They are powerful spiritual moments and ones that seat themselves deep in my faith.
Our family is currently in the midst of a big life shift. We are looking to change our means of family income, which will mean great upheaval from the last decade. It is time, and it is right, but the details still feel unsettled. We are waiting for word about further education, and trying to consider options should that not pan out. All the while we are trying to make sure we make prayerful decisions so that we choose the right path for our family.
The past year and a half have been a struggle in our business as we try to right many wrongs from the past. None of the decisions that were ill-made were ours, but unfortunately they have directly affected us. Slowly, painfully, and carefully, we have made prudent decisions to right the ship. And yet we have encountered opposition at every turn.
How is it possible that a spirit-led decision does not roll out smoothly? If it is God's will for us, why does he not make the path straight? Why are others able to make terrible decisions that derail our efforts? Did we choose wrong? Is it God's way of shutting the door and getting us on a different path? In truth, these months have nearly broken my faith completely. I have clung to the notion that God opens doors when we do his will, and yet it seems he is breaking our hearts and our spirits.
Nothing short of powers of hell and schemes of man have befallen us. There have been moments of deep heaving sobs, soul-crushing weights, and tidal waves of fear that literally weaken my knees as I collapse to the floor.
And yet, as always (I never seem to remember this), this - THIS - is the very place God meets us and makes an unforgettable impact on our lives. On my life.
I randomly opened my bible to Nehemiah. Who reads Nehemiah? Generally it's the Psalms that offer a healing balm, a sense that someone else knows this pain, too. My eyes fell on the pages, the story of Nehemiah and the exiles Jews. There was a vague familiarity; apparently I have read Nehemiah at some point in my past. Nehemiah visits Jerusalem and sees the ruins of the temple. It breaks his heart and he is inspired to rebuild it all. With permission from the king, he gathers the Jewish people and they start to slowly raise the temple, the walls, the gates.
And then the opposition comes. Political scheming and accusations, threats to their physical safety. Nehemiah has to arm the laborers, set shifts to build and shifts to protect. Over and over the opposition rises up.
God had sanctioned the rebuilding, but he did not clear the way. Even on the right path, even with a righteous desire, the enemy was still allowed to press in. It didn't make the path wrong. It wasn't God trying to dissuade the people from their efforts. Nehemiah stayed close to God, prayed continually for assurance, and then soldiered on.
Often in trying to create relevance from scriptural stories written thousands of years ago, the effort is non-existent or trite. I draw vague modern parallels and make weak commitments. But then, something such as this bursts forth from the pages and it is so relevant that the truth of it is undeniable.
We are on God's sanctioned path for us. Our enemies are, sadly, real men and women with evil intent, with desire to harm. But as we arm ourselves for protection and move forward, the end result is that our new dream will rise from the ruins in all its glory, just as the temple of Jerusalem did in ages past.