Dealing With Detours
There’s a sense of accomplishment we experience when we finish what we've started. We like to see the end results of our labor and to know that nothing we’ve done has been done in vain. When we reach a detour or a roadblock along the way, and yet still persevere, it makes us appreciate our achievement even more in the end because we know what it took to get there. We know the sacrifices that were made every time we prioritized our time, energy, and efforts towards our goal. As the familiar adage goes, “Nothing worth fighting for comes easy.” What my question is for you today is, “Is there anything you’ve stopped fighting for?” Sometimes our problems can seem so extensive that we lose sight of the destination, and give up on the journey altogether. But I implore you not to turn a detour into a stop sign! Allow God to recalibrate your spiritual GPS and get you back on the path towards completion.
I love the heart of Nehemiah expressed when he went to inspect the broken down walls of Jerusalem. Despite many attempts to rebuild what had been left in ruins, no one had ever finished the job of restoring them since their destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C. The leaders and people of this sacred city had evidently become accustomed to this sad state of affairs and had given up on any hope for change. But God stirred up the heart of Nehemiah and gave him a desire to complete what had been left unfinished. In order to do this, however, Nehemiah had to possess certain traits that would bring his desire into full fruition. These included:
1. Passion for the Cause
Nehemiah gathered all the people and encouraged them by boldly stating that, “The God of heaven will give them success!” He spoke authoritatively and ensured them of the clearance he had from the King. And when opposition came (as it always does), his faith didn’t waver. Instead, he zealously reminded the people that the Lord, who is great and awesome, would fight for them (Nehemiah 4: 14, 20)! Nehemiah’s passionate pursuit of what God placed in his heart was contagious and spurred him on to complete the task at hand.
2. Willingness to Work
You can’t expect God to bless what isn’t being sowed into. You have to be willing to put in the work! Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem worked vigorously towards their goal “from the first light of dawn till the stars came out” at night (Nehemiah 4:21). Furthermore, Verse 7 says, “the people worked with all their heart.” Are you giving something to God for him to bless? He always requires us to do our part. Remember, faith without works is dead (James 2:26)!
3. Monitoring Motives
There is a stark contrast between Nehemiah’s motives, and those of Jerusalem’s authority figures. Upon hearing the outcry of the people, Nehemiah angrily accused the nobles and officials of “exacting usury from their own countrymen” and assembled them all together. He then made them take an oath to immediately return the fields, vineyards, olive groves, houses, and usury they were greedily charging the people. Nehemiah's behavior, on the other hand, was guided by principles of service rather than opportunism. In chapter 5, verse 15 he states, “Out of reverence for God, I did not act like that. Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall. All my men were assembled there for work; we did not acquire any land.” It's exciting to know that when you revere the Lord with pure motives for a task, he’ll often provide even more opportunities to live out your purpose along the way!
Right now, you may be looking at a broken down wall in front you, but God wants you to know it’s just a detour. With the right combination of passion, willingness, and pure motives, He’ll ensure you arrive at your true destination. The question to ask yourself is, “Does God want me to rebuild the wall…or move in a different direction?”
MOVE. MEASURE. MARCH.