“As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1.4)
A lesser man would have done nothing. After all, there were so many valid reasons not to. He had a good job; he was 800 miles away; for more than 100 years no one had been able to solve the problem; what made him think that he could? But real leaders don’t let reasons stop them–not when love is at stake. And make no mistake: it was Nehemiah’s love for Jerusalem that compelled him.
Nehemiah had just received news from his brother that the walls of Jerusalem were rubble, the gates were burned, and the people were demoralized. These were flaming arrows that struck through Nehemiah’s noble heart. Have you ever wept to the point that tears are exhausted? Has your heart ever been so crushed that you are paralyzed? For days Nehemiah was in this wretched condition. He could not move; he could not eat. All he could do was to pour his heart out in prayer like waters gushing from a broken dam.
The genesis of momentous change is often found in the ordinary, when a perfect storm of otherwise normal circumstances suddenly awakens action. The situation had not changed for over a century. But today something was different. The report from Nehemiah’s brother struck his heart like a match to gasoline-soaked wood, igniting unstoppable passion. Such concentration of emotion and resolve cannot go unnoticed by heaven. It is a beacon through the skies arousing the concern of our Heavenly Father.
The Bible says that the eyes of the LORD search to and fro throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are perfect toward Him (2 Chronicles 16.9). God waits to bless and empower those who align themselves in devotion to His purposes.
Nehemiah was experiencing the birth of a burden…and neither he nor the world would ever be the same.
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