Distant, unconcerned, lack of power, and control is the God described in the popular series called Supernatural. We wonder sometimes, when things do not happen on our time table or things do not happen in the way we feel makes the most sense, if God has taken an extended leave of absence.
The time I watched my precious friend suffer through and pass away from breast cancer leaving a husband to finish raising their middle schooler and a high schooler. The time our beloved community of fifteen plus years was torn apart dismantling relationships we had done life with all those years. The time we knew we were following God’s will, but things didn’t fall into place like we had been taught to believe they would. These are but a few times in my life of pain and heartache begging the question of God’s presence.
We each have our own list of times and some of us are in one of those times right now, where God seems absent and unresponsive.
“When you hear the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding. Then our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah 4:20, NLT
Nehemiah was in the middle of an insurmountable goal to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem with the real goal of empowering the Israelites to worship God again. While God granted Nehemiah favor with the King Artaxerxes, king of Persia to return to his homeland of Israel to check on the state of things, Nehemiah was not well received by those the King had left in charge over the Jews.
Nehemiah pressed on with his plan to lead the Israelites to rebuild the wall despite the opposition and the potential threats that grew with every stone that was stacked on top of the other. When the threats developed into an actual plot to attack the Israelites, they became discouraged and fearful.
Nehemiah, however, did not become discouraged, but cried out to God and did what he could do. “From that day on, half of my servants carried on the work while the other half held the spears, shields, bows and breastplates…everyone worked with one hand and held a weapon with the other…and the one who sounded the trumpet stood at my side.” Nehemiah 4:18, 19, NLT.
They were on the verge of being taken out by their enemies, while they worked on a God led project. Sweaty, dirty, exhausted, afraid and now they had to work with one hand holding a weapon knowing with a single blast of the trumpet they would be fighting instead of building.
It is in moments like these we feel the most abandoned by God. It seems unreal that we would be left exhausted and stretched beyond our physical and emotional capabilities. The peace of God seems far off and we struggle to place one foot in front of the other.
It feels like God is distant, doesn’t care, and we imagine Him to be off dealing with more important issues somewhere else in the world or maybe He is just tired and taking a break from us humans.
God is not far away. He is not too busy working on other people’s problems to care for our problems. He is not taking a break. He is not mad at us. He is not sitting on the sidelines waiting for us to fail. He has not left us alone.
When we are pushing through the sweat, tears and hard work of our current situation, when we are on the front lines of battle with a sword in one hand and a hammer in the other, God is there. He has gone before us. He has been working on our behalf all along and when it comes time; God will fight for us.
“Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”” Nehemiah 4:20 NIV
God moves in His time in His way, but this doesn’t mean He has forgotten us or doesn’t see us. Nehemiah’s preparedness was not a lack of faith in God’s ability to act. His faith statement is clear, “God will fight for us!” But the wall was not going to build itself and while Nehemiah had the faith God would fight for them, he didn’t know how that would transpire.
Whatever your situation, get up every day with one hand on your sword of truth and one hand free to keep building. Build up your marriage, your children, your relationships which need restoration and healing. Build on the project that has yet to show any results or the dream God has placed on your heart. Build on restoring the broken, the torn down and gaps in your life.
And if and when that time comes for an all-out battle, know that –
God will fight for you!
Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 31:8; Nehemiah 4; Psalm 121; John 16:33
Meditation: God will fight for me
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