- 'This isn't fair' (04/17/16)
- Finding stillness amid the storm (04/03/16)
- The curious, the cheerful and the crotchety (03/20/16)
- Accepting change through God's consistency (03/06/16)
- Building on a good thing: Part 1 (02/07/16)
- The divine call to excellence (01/24/16)
- Seeing God in the midst of tragedy (01/10/16)
In this world, you will have troubles to overcome
This isn't exactly the biblical promise that most of us gravitate toward for encouragement.
It would be more than fair to say that when people, even people who do not necessarily believe in God, look to the Bible for inspiration only to find the promise of trouble, it is not exactly the boost they are looking for. If trouble is certain the question for our lives quickly becomes not "why do we have troubles?" but" how do address them when they come?"
Nehemiah and the people of his city knew trouble.
They have been experiencing trouble for more than a century. When the people together and began to rebuild the walls, the work progressed well and the people were excited, but not everyone was happy. A group of men were adamantly opposed to this work. Instead of leading the people to their best lives, they mocked them and diminished their work. To say they were opposed to them is an understatement.
God's plan for facing troubles honorably first identifies the trouble for what it truly is.
It was clear to all but the troublemakers that they wanted to make the people look small to make themselves look big. We call that bullying. Clearly identifying what is causing the trouble and why it is happening places you in a position to navigate the trouble with greater confidence.
Second, turn your troubles to the throne. Nehemiah prays that God sees them for what they are -- bullies. He was able to turn the trouble to the throne trusting in the Lord to ultimately resolve the issue. He wasn't about to let a few jealous men and their taunts to stop him and the people from doing what God had place in his heart to do.
What did they do after he identified what the real issue was and placed the entire problem before God, he and the people went back to work. Nehemiah understood that if those who cause you trouble can get you to focus on them then they have won. Jesus tells us that no one can serve two masters. You cannot divide your attention between serving God and anything that takes you away from his purposes.
Focus gets the right things done at the right time for the right reason no matter the trouble trying to be imposed.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.