Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Providence in Scripture Reading

This weekend I took my chronological Bible to the lake with us to catch up on my reading. I didn’t get a lot done, but I did some. I don’t know about you, but I often have a hard time concentrating and forget what I read the instant I finish. Plus, I often get interrupted—mainly by my 5-year-old.

This morning, back at home, I opened my Bible to the point where my bookmark was. I realized I had read this section already, so I skipped ahead to find an unfamiliar part. I came to Nehemiah 4, and the last few verses spoke to powerfully to me and a situation in my life—especially regarding events of the weekend.

I underlined several phrases and wrote in the margin. Then I turned the page and realized that I actually had read all of it while at the lake! Where I had actually left off was two pages beyond my bookmark! Had I forgotten to move my bookmark? I never have before. Had my 5-year-old moved it? Possibly, but I never saw her anywhere near my Bible. All I know is that I was meant to read Nehemiah 4 today…

“When our enemies heard that we were aware of their plot and that God had frustrated it, we all returned to the wall, each to his own work.” Nehemiah 4:15 (NIV)

I am often distracted by the enemy’s plots. I get so wrapped up in my own stuff—my grief and worry. I get caught up in discouragement and despair, and that keeps me from accomplishing what I truly believe God has called me to do. I feel unworthy and incapable. Who am I to think that I could serve God or speak to anyone else about Him? But if I would just listen and seek God, instead of focusing on my worries, fears and insecurities, maybe I, too, would be more aware of the enemy’s plot. Just maybe I could see how God was frustrating that plot!

“Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked. But the man who sounded the trumpet stayed with me.” Nehemiah 4:17-18 (NIV)

Ruth Bell Graham wrote a poem that has helped carry me through times of terrible worry and stress. If you’re a mom, you understand—especially if you’re a mom of an adult child who has struggles. I want so much for my child. I want things that he doesn’t necessarily want for himself. But part of me feels like I must convince him to want these things! I have to make him understand. Graham’s poem addresses this problem we mothers have. She talks about how she prays all day long as she goes about her work, and she spends time on her knees in prayer at night. But she also realizes that there is a work that needs to be done in her child that only God can do! She ends by saying, “God is God and there is work to do.”  So instead of wearing myself out worrying and strategizing for my child, I will pray, put my child safely in the hands of God, and then I will go on with my work that I feel God calling me to do. I will do my work with one hand and in the other I will carry a weapon—the word of God--that I continue to pray over my child. But I will not stop moving forward. I will not be paralyzed by fear and worry!

“Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah 4:20 (NIV)

Instead of wasting my prayer time trying to convince God to do things my way, I will trust His way. Instead of trying to change His mind about my situation, I will listen for that trumpet. And when I hear it, I will rush to join God in the work that He is doing. He will fight FOR me!

Thank you, Lord, for not allowing me to skim over this portion of scripture that I’ve read so many times. However that bookmark got placed two pages back doesn’t matter. What does matter is that You will go to great lengths to speak to me. I just have to listen!


  1. I love this post and the poem that follows. Two of my friends in different parts of the country, both had serious incidents occur with their prodigal adult children last week on the same night. I know this poem will be an encouragement to both of them and I'll be sure to share it.

    1. Terri, if your friends have not already read it, I recommend they get a copy of Ruth Bell Graham's book, "Prodigals and Those Who Love Them." It has lots of poems and stories that are very encouraging when our kids are out of control. Thanks so much for reading and sharing!


I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!