Life is full of setbacks, trials, and disappointments. That light at the end of the tunnel? It’s another train.
People we care about and trust will turn against us. People will ridicule us and lie about us. All manner of evil people will oppose us hoping to prevent us from fulfilling God’s call on our lives.
It is, in this fallen world, an unfortunate fact of life.
What are we to do in the midst of trials and tribulation?
Our natural inclination (at least mine) is to take the bull by the horns and continue on my path under my own power. I find myself following the motto, “If it is to be it is up to me.”
But what happens when we charge off on our own? We leave God behind!
Sometimes I’m a painfully slow learner but I’ve discovered leaving God behind is never a good idea.
To keep the train metaphor going, sometimes I’m the engine and God isn’t even part of the train. Sometimes I’m the engine and I invite God along but I put Him last. I’m in trouble when I’m the engine and God is the caboose.
God needs to be first in my life’s journey.
One of my favorite Bible characters is Nehemiah. Nehemiah is an inspiration to me because he faced all kinds of trials and never lost sight of God’s call on his life.
Let’s look back at Nehemiah to see how he responded to some of the problems he faced in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem.
Devastating News. Nehemiah received devastating news about the condition of the city of Jerusalem and the people living there.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah grieved, fasted, and prayed for several days (Nehemiah 1:4).
Ridiculed. Enemies of the Jews ridiculed them for attempting to rebuild the city of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah prayed and the people worked even harder to rebuild the city wall.
Outright opposition. Incensed at the progress on the wall, their enemies plotted to fight the Jews to stop the work.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah prayed and posted guards to protect the workers (Nehemiah 4:9).
Slandered. Nehemiah’s enemies spread lies about him saying he was planning to rebel against the king.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah denied the slanderous attacks and prayed (Nehemiah 6:9).
Attempt to Discredit. Nehemiah’s enemies tried to trick him into running and hiding and thus discredit him in the eyes of the people.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah refused to be intimidated and prayed (Nehemiah 6:14).
Not all of Nehemiah’s problems came from his enemies. Some of his problems came from the very people he was trying to help.
People neglected their offerings. Nehemiah discovered the Levites had not received their offerings from the people, so the Levites had left to work their own fields.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah rebuked the city officials, called the Levites back their duties and prayed (Nehemiah 13:14).
People working on the Sabbath. Nehemiah discovered the people were treading grapes, bringing goods into the city, and selling food on the Sabbath.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah rebuked the people, stationed guards at the city gates to stop the import of goods on the Sabbath, and prayed (Nehemiah 13:14).
Intermarriage with Gentiles. Nehemiah found out some of the Jews had married Gentile women. One of the men was the son of the high priest who had married the daughter of one of Nehemiah’s enemies.
Nehemiah’s Response. Nehemiah rebuked the people who married Gentile women, removed the guilty priest from leadership, and prayed (Nehemiah 13:29).
The Common Denominator
Nehemiah dealt with some tough situations! He received devastating news about his people. He was ridiculed, he was opposed at every turn, and he was slandered. His enemies even tried to convince him to run and hide for his life. If all the external issues were not enough, Nehemiah also had to deal with his own people not obeying God.
Throughout all these trials and tribulations Nehemiah never lost site of the work God had called him to do. With great courage, he persevered against every external and internal challenge.
What sustained him you ask? How was he able to keep his focus on the work God had given him? Did you notice the recurring theme in each of the situations that confronted Nehemiah?
He prayed and trusted God.
The best way to deal with the challenges we face in life is to come to God in prayer. Yes, folks, it’s come to that. We need to pray and trust God. When we do, what we will find is that light at the end of the tunnel is God directing our path.
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. Why do you think we sometimes try to deal with life’s challenges on your own power, without God?
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Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God