It was a warm sunny day in Houston, Texas, on September 12, 1962. John F. Kennedy stood before 40,000 people in the Rice University football stadium to deliver a speech that helped launch American astronauts to the moon.
Most Americans were not convinced that we should embark on such a bold endeavor or believed that it was even possible. But that day, John F. Kennedy began winning people over to the idea that America could put people on the moon in a decade.
We forget how much opposition there was to this ambitious plan now because landing on the moon is such a proud achievement in American history.
Less than a year later, Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before 250,000 people to deliver his famous, “I Have a Dream Speech,” that helped move the Civil Rights Legislation closer to adoption and end the Jim Crow Laws.
Both of these men were dreamers. They were optimists, and they dared to lead with courage.
Nehemiah was such a man who lived about 450 B.C. He was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, King of Persia.
He was a Jewish descendant of those exiled from Jerusalem after the Babylonians conquered it.
Nehemiah learned of the dire circumstances in Jerusalem because the walls and the gates of the city were destroyed.
When he heard about this, he could have said, “Ah, there’s nothing I can do.” Instead, the news broke his heart. He wept. He fasted, and he prayed.
Nehemiah was a dreamer. He was an optimist. He believed he could help engineer an effort to rebuild the walls if he could get the king to release him from his duties as cupbearer. But how was that possible?
Did I mention that Nehemiah fasted and prayed about this problem?
What if we looked at our problems the way Nehemiah looked at Jerusalem? What if we looked at the possibilities and not just at the size of the problem? What if we took our problems to God in fasting and prayer?
God prepared the way for Nehemiah. The king took notice of his body language and asked him the reason for his sadness. Nehemiah didn’t even have to initiate the conversation.
Nehemiah explained the plight of his people, and he asked the king to allow him to leave and assist them.
Not only did the king allow him to go, but the king gave him the needed resources to rebuild the city wall and city gates.
God will prepare the way for you if you will pray and ask God for guidance through situations that you face. God is a God of possibilities!
Is there something in your life that God is setting before you to do, but you cannot see your way through it?
Are there problems so significant in your life that it will take a big God to solve them?
These kinds of problems are all around us. The truth is, we can’t even handle the small issues without the strength God provides. We just think we are in control.
“The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You (Jeremiah 32:7 NIV).
Nehemiah and his team rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem in a remarkable 52 days amid opposition. Some worked while others stood guard. We should always expect resistance, even to God-ordained plans.
God was with Nehemiah, and the people of the city and God showed them the way.
It started with Nehemiah’s fasting and praying. Then he followed God’s lead as God opened doors. Then Nehemiah led the people with courage. God was glorified.
That’s one template for making this world a better place to live.
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