He could have said it was their problem to solve.
He could have told them what they should do.
He could have sat back and given out ‘good’ advice.
He could have done nothing and gone home.
Instead he owned the problem as if it was his own, because it actually was.
Rebuilding your life requires a knowing that others are with you
Our rebuilding cup bearer Nehemiah, upon seeing the destroyed walls of Jerusalem, speaks these words.
Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace.” Nehemiah 2:17
Nehemiah points out the obvious to them. Ruined walls, gates burned and the suffering of disgrace.
Why did he have to point it all out to them? Perhaps they had grown used to the situation. There was a normality to it. This was all they had have ever known.
I think we need at times good people who will wake us up from the ‘normality’ of our situation. We can be like that ignorant child of C.S. Lewis ‘who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.’
So it takes someone outside of our situation, our slum, to come and shake us up. To say that this is not acceptable and that there is a better way.
Wonderful to be told about how terrible your situation is but more is needed. What is needed is an association with the problem.
Nehemiah declares personal ownership of problem.
- You see the trouble we are in
- Come, let us rebuild
- So that we may no longer suffer disgrace
To have someone with us is the most blessed gift we can have when we are rebuilding. That there is someone closely walking alongside.
Loneliness and isolation were never part of Gods vocabulary for us.
So I come to Christ.
Allow me a little grace as I play with this verse from Nehemiah.
Imagine Jesus coming to us, fully divine and fully human and he says these words.
Then Jesus said to them, “You see the trouble our shared humanity is in. How what once God created as something of overwhelming beauty and goodness now lies in ruins and is open to further abuse. Come, let us, Father, Son, Spirit, rebuild with you something new. Something you can’t even imagine, so that we may no longer suffer disgrace.” Nehemiah 2:17
We were never meant to be alone in our rebuild. We rebuild together.
So in prayer, and with gentle curiosity, we invite a taste of knowing others. In this place of knowing we carry this burden to God asking what it is that we are called to do.
Boundaries are of course important. Those lines of love and respect. We are not called to a rescue mission but to a co-labouring journey.
I am thankful that Nehemiah wasn’t aloof to the ‘mud pie slum’ and that Christ wasn’t distant from mine.
The challenge is whether I will be willing to associate myself with the rebuilding of others and will I be open to allow others in close enough to join in my rebuild. Is that the same for you?
Quotes to consider
- Where there is great love there are always miracles Willa Cather
- Encouragement has its root in the Latin word cor, which literally means “heart”. So does the word courage. To have courage means to have heart. To encourage – to provide with or give courage – literally means to give others heart. Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner
- Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone Andy Stanley
- It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. C.S. Lewis
- I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. Edward Everett Hale
Questions to answer leave a comment
- Who has been or is with you in your rebuild?
- What happens in the heart when you experience the joining of someone into our journey?
- Why do people tend to shy away from being with someone rebuilding their life, particularly when there is a mental illness involved?