We wake up, rise out of bed and then what? Once eyes open and focus, honing in on the day ahead, the world awaiting, what next steps do we take to move forward from sleep and comfort toward transformation?
RISE (Nehemiah 1)
Nehemiah’s story is a good place to start. He, too, began from a position of relative comfort as a cupbearer to the king. I know it sounds like a low-level servant’s job, but the cupbearer carried more than wine – he carried the trust of the king to ferret out poison or ill intent, a man trusted to come close to the sovereign without suspicion. Nehemiah walked the palace freely with a confident stride and congenial countenance.
One day he got news from home. Those that escaped the captivity, it turns out, did not escape hardship. They were in great trouble. Even worse, the wall of Jerusalem was broken down, all the gates burned out. The city and its people were vulnerable.
Maybe Nehemiah assumed those left behind fared better, that over the years since the siege they’d fixed the city and recovered some semblance of normality. The reality of his city, his countrymen in despair and disrepair pierced his heart. How can he live at ease in the capital of Persia serving a king that doesn’t need him, when he’s needed back home?
As he prayed to YHWH, his voice rumbled and rose up. His entire posture changed and he decided to rise to the challenge.
RETURN (Nehemiah 2)
His sullen expression didn’t go unnoticed. King and queen both leaned in to listen and inquire how they could help. So Nehemiah boldly asked for permission to return to Jerusalem.
And away he went. Nehemiah went back to the future – seriously – he went back to his homeland but stepped into his future at the same time.
REPAIR (Nehemiah 3)
Not long after Nehemiah’s homecoming, rebuilding was underway. It’s worth noting that homecoming wasn’t quick and easy. The impoverished minds and broken hearts of the survivors required attention and care. Viewing the shards of scorched gate beams, the once-looming walls flattened by destruction and erosion – that hurt, too.
What Nehemiah discerned as he surveyed both people and place was that the ancient things needed repair. People once bound together by covenant and a former host city of The Most High cried out for repair work.
Read the rest over at SheLovesMagazine.com where we are ruminating on the theme RISE this month.