Monday, April 15, 2013

Faith-Finely Manicured or Cracked and Calloused?

As my study of Nehemiah enters chapter 12, I am encouraged, empowered, and filled with praise to Him Who is Able.

In the middle of the night, Nehemiah found himself surveying the ruins of the wall of the holy city. It had been decimated, and so had Nehemiah’s heart when he heard of it. Assessing the damage of the once glorious dwelling place of All Mighty God broke Nehemiah’s heart.

I have lain awake at night, surveying the rubble of my hopes and dreams. My heart has been broken for what might have been. As Nehemiah ran his hand across the the topped stones, I have mentally run my hand across my regrets, wondering what I could have done differently, knowing that I could have done better. I have wrestled with my failures and even my sin, wondering if I, myself, caused this devastation.

Kelly Minter has led us on a journey with Nehemiah through the trials of rebuilding and repopulating the Holy City of Jerusalem. Nehemiah has faced ridicule and slander. Personal accusations have been hurled at him. Lies about him and his God have been broadcast publically. He has had to strengthen and encourage this motley crew of perfume makers, artists, priests, and everyday folk through hand-to-hand combat, emotional battles and spiritual warfare. He has sacrificed so that they would have what they needed and so they wouldn’t lose hope. It has been a harrowing experience.

I know I am not alone in battling the lies, accusations and ridicule that Satan hurls at my mind. That’s what keeps me awake at night. It may keep you awake at night too. But I find strength and courage to continue to fight this battle as I see how Nehemiah fought it—and taught others to fight it with him--physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Now in chapter 12, the wall is complete and “Nehemiah’s finely manicured hands that once served wine in a king’s palace had certainly become cracked and calloused…”

My faith was once finely manicured. It was smooth and clean, neat and tidy. It had never really been tested. But today my faith is cracked and calloused. It has been battered, twisted, stretched and bloodied. But it is stronger than that neat and tidy faith I once had. I have a long way to go, and my faith is tiny compared to what it should be. But as I continue this journey called life, I will stumble and sometimes fall. My faith will continue to be battered and stretched. And God will continue to be faithful--that is my unswerving hope.

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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!