For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nehemiah and the King

Nehemiah 1:1b-5
I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “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 ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

Children love balloons. My grandson played with a red one in his living room. We batted back and forth as we tried to keep the plastic orb from hitting the ground. As we played our game, he repeated his mama’s warning that “balloons might burst, but it’s okay.” A few seconds later, sure enough, we heard a pop, then red bits scattered across the floor. Eli’s eyes rounded and his little mouth fell into a frown. He sat down and said, “I’m okay.” Then his lips quivered, but he didn’t cry. His heart was broken, but he remained brave.

Nehemiah’s eyes filled with sadness as he served King Artexerxes. Even though he walked through his routine assignment, his heart lay open with pain. His beloved city of Jerusalem fell, and he wanted return there to rebuild. But, he needed to know what God wanted him to do. So much in this world brings sadness to my heart and I want to sit down and cry and frankly, at times give up. But, even in the sadness, I know that I have God. Nehemiah knew this, too. When his heart hurt he didn’t run off, he prayed. He sought God’s guidance and he found peace through the promises of his Lord. Right now my heart breaks for a friend, but I know that many prayers have been sent up and that God’s in control. He will protect and comfort. Praise God for his constant care.

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