Work doesn’t always evoke the warmest of feelings. We work to survive and provide. Even if we love our jobs, we look forward to breaks. We form our fondest memories in the times that make us forget our toiling. Because of this, we often distance work from our faith. Faith is blessings and sanctuary. Faith is an escape from the troubles of the world. Though these statements are true, faith is also battling the enemy, stepping out of our comfort zones, and continuing on even when we feel like we might not have anything left. Living out our faith is work.
Nehemiah felt led by God to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. As the walls and gates were rebuilt, enemies plotted against them. The threat of death is something that would make most of us back away from a task immediately. In Nehemiah’s case, it was a motivation for all those involved.
So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.
God’s leading and the security of the wall were more important to them than the threat of harm. The most valuable and precious things require sacrifice and effort. This wall was something the people really wanted and needed and so they gave with their whole hearts. God didn’t just drop a new wall down around the city. The builders knew God was with them so they were willing to give whatever they had and work as hard as they could to fulfill what He wanted.
Even with God, we have to work. My husband likes to say that God is not a drive-thru window. Many times, our requests and God’s plans for us require us to work hard and have patience. We don’t just walk up, order a miracle, and promptly receive our blessing. Though God is capable of anything, we owe it to Him to be ready and willing to fight for His plan for us. He does not require our sacrifice, but He has more than earned it.
Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
We also have to fight against the fallacy that preparation or a healthy amount of fear is weakness or lack of faith. Nehemiah stationed these families with their weapons so that they could be prepared in case of an attack. He didn’t doubt God’s ability to fulfill His plan. Rather, he was using the brain that God gave him to ensure that they were successful.
Just because God gives us a direction in life it doesn’t mean that we throw caution to the wind. We don’t give up at the first sign of trouble, but it’s okay to have your sword ready. We keep pushing forward and building the wall, but we make sure that we are prepared for whatever the enemy might throw at us.
When we are tired of work and sick of conflict, we seek comfort in the cross. We find peace in our faith. But, when our faith is at the center of our lives, we possess something powerful and priceless. Having a personal relationship with Christ means that we may have to work hard and throw ourselves into the battle so that we can help accomplish God’s plans for us and others. The gifts of salvation and grace are worth living and dying for. The Love of Christ doesn’t guarantee a work-free, conflict-free life, but it does promise a life that will make every battle and every struggle in the name of His plan absolutely worth it.
Featured image by Caleb Ekeroth