They replied, ‘The survivors there in the province who escaped captivity are in great trouble and shame; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been destroyed by fire.’ When I heard these words, I sat down and wept…. (Neh. 1:3-4)
When Nehemiah heard that the wall in Jerusalem was still broken down, he wept. Without the wall, the Jews felt unsafe, demoralized, and vanquished. Without the wall in God’s city, they questioned if God could still protect them. Without that wall, they felt naked, exposed, and vulnerable.
If you’re wondering if Nehemiah’s tears over the broken wall in Jerusalem have any bearing on your life, I would ask you to bear with me.
I’ve known many people who felt like the walls of their life had been destroyed. I’m thinking about those who just got divorced—where now is their home? I’m thinking about those who just lost their job—what now is their work? I’m thinking about those who just lost their parents or spouse or dear friend—where now can they turn for love?
If you’re feeling like your own walls—the roles, supports, or people that gave you security and meaning—are broken down, I invite you to read what Nehemiah, with God’s help, was able to do in Jerusalem.
Here’s a short recap. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, surveyed the damage, recruited help, gathered the building materials, avoided constant sabotage and subterfuge, and against great odds at a breakneck pace, he and the Israelites did rebuild those walls.
If you identify with Nehemiah’s grief over the broken wall in Jerusalem, I encourage you to believe that his heroic story can be yours. If you feel like you’re looking at the ruins of your former life, may you follow Nehemiah’s example: Survey the damage, recruit the help, gather the resources, ignore the negative voices, and with God’s help, you can rebuild, restore, and prevail. Our God knows how to reconstruct the rubble into something that’s secure, safe, and strong.
- Have the “walls” in your life ever been broken down? If so, what were the circumstances?
- If it has felt like some part of your life has been taken away or destroyed, has God helped you to rebuild? If so, how? If not yet, how do you need God’s help to do so?
- Nehemiah’s story is one of great faith, hope, and heroism. How might you need more faith, hope, and heroism to face your own challenges?