Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
“Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
Today our cities, our nation lie in ruins and our gates have been destroyed by fire. We lie in ruins and are destroyed by the very thing we should have been working so hard to keep out: indifference and hatred. It was destroyed by a wildfire of hate, racism, prejudice and lies in our hearts. As a city, as a people, we need to rebuild these gates. I look to Nehemiah’s story in the Bible to help me understand the severity of the issue and the solution.
When Nehemiah approaches the king he’s asked what he wants and he responds “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.” Nehemiah doesn’t wait for someone else to step up or talk someone else into doing it, he wants to be sent himself.
Our cities need to be rebuilt and we should be saying, “send me!” We need men and women like Nehemiah who are visionaries filled with love for their people.
It should come from a place of compassion for one another. It’s what happens when we let concern for others move from our head to our heart. It’s what happens when the heartbreak leads us to be visionaries, like Nehemiah. He mourned and fasted and prayed and He allowed God to breakthrough to lead his people in rebuilding their city. He shepherded his people to a preferable future. God gave him a vision and he would pursue that vision. This all came through honesty and confession. It’s necessary to admit the prejudices that are in our hearts in order to move forward. Maybe they’re not obvious or outspoken but even a small amount can spoil the whole. Let’s confess them and move forward in love and hope for a preferable future, a better tomorrow.
Let’s rebuild our city gates like Nehemiah and his people did. Gates that will keep all of the hatred, racism, prejudice and lies out of our hearts and lives. Gates so adorned and bound in love that no amount of hate will ever enter our cities. Let’s join forces and rebuild our communities with God’s perfect love, acceptance, equality and truth.
Let’s do this together! “So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” We belong to God and only in unity can we allow the Holy Spirit to breakthrough.
“Nehemiah, a man of action, was also a man of prayer. The predicament of the Jewish people in Jerusalem breaks his heart and propels him to pray. His own comfortable position as trusted attendant to the king, in contrast to the sorry state of the people in Jerusalem, probably intensifies his sorrow.”
May our sorrow be intensified to the point of action and heartfelt prayer.
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."