When we first moved overseas, life was crazy-busy. Everything had to be set up from scratch and initially we were in a tailspin trying to bring life back into order. Carving out time and fighting distractions to spend time in God's Word seemed like a losing battle, and I found myself "holding my breath" until life settled down again. My great future plans to spend "quality time" digging into God's Word were supplanted by the constant and mundane daily necessities. After several months I was wrung out dry spiritually! Later I discovered that this experience is common to anyone in a new stage that requires constant attention to the details of life. In those times of transition, don't get fancy with an in-depth study or try to add on taking a class. His Word still faithfully nourishes our souls and God brings to mind later what is needed for the moment when we are daily putting it in.
"Eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day is better than filet mignon once a week."
"It Doesn't Matter"
After teaching about Nehemiah re-building the walls of Jerusalem, the details of Sanballat and Tobiah's ridicule impacted me from Nehemiah 4:1-3:
"'What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble--burned as they are?' Tobiah...said,'What they are building--if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones.'"
The people had already been pouring themselves into the work--believing that God would bring it about and give them success (2:20). What was the intention of the Enemy's words? To make them believe that what they were doing would make no difference; that it was inadequate; that to continue to work would be foolish.
Evidently their words fell on deaf ears, because 4:6 says, "We rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart."
But then the amount of work they had put into the wall looked so small compared with what still needed to be done.
"The people in Judah said, 'The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is SO MUCH rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.'" Their Enemy's words sunk in: "It's too big. You will never accomplish it. Your work doesn't matter."
Then, the Enemy moved in with words of fear--ten times they circulated rumors that wherever the Jews went, they would be attacked. The initial verbal assault, "It isn't possible" turned into, "It isn't safe."
Nehemiah 6:9 sums it up: "They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, 'Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.'" Every accusation and false reasoning had one goal: for the people to STOP doing God's work.
"But I prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands.'"
When I was asked to teach this lesson, I didn't realize that the verse that helped inspire the name for this website was included, but I was glad for the reminder.
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. Hebrews 6:10-11.