“. . . Therefore, I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.’”
I’m so tired, Lord! Every bone in my body aches with throbbing intensity reminding me of every brick I’ve lifted into place. My nails are broken to the quick, my hands are cracked and bleeding. My mind is numb from the never-ending monotony, and my heart is terrified and confused. I don’t understand what’s happening, and I’m too weary now to care. The wall is only half done, and even though many of the gaps have been closed, the rubble is everywhere. I can’t even walk home without falling over piles of broken brick and debris. Sanballat’s jeers and threats of attack are jarring in intensity and the fear that now surrounds us is like a shroud. It’s all I can do to sit here, my back against the wall, my knees drawn close to pillow my drooping head, too tired to get up and too tired to lie down.
In the beginning, Nehemiah’s passion for You filled me with hope and excitement. It wasn’t hard then to picture the walls of Jerusalem completely restored. We all worked so hard to get to this place, laughing and singing and cooperating as a team. But now there is only silence to punctuate the groans of hefting brick after brick all day long. Strife and in-fighting from our neighbors and friends who have left and deserted the work mean there are fewer of us to carry on. We are at a crisis point now. The pace is frenzied as the enemy actively prepares for battle. We take turns standing guard while others build. Even the women and children are pressed into helping. But the task is too big and the obstacles too great. The enemy flings flaming arrows of despair and doubt daily. Our strength is giving out, and all I see is brokenness, a half-build wall with gaps still too big to fill and a depleted force too small to defeat these enemies.
I am exhausted, Lord!
These emotions are all too real to me today, Lord! But it is here in this bone-deep weariness, when all my human efforts have been used up and I finally slump to the ground emptied and drained, that I hear You whisper, “Don’t be afraid! Remember the Lord who is great and awesome and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” It is in these moments of weariness that I remember that Your purposes will always prevail. Your plans will never be thwarted. You are greater than the opposition, and You promise to never leave me or forsake me.
You have not called me to rebuild a wall but to break down walls put in place by the enemy of our souls. The battle you have called me to fight is on my knees with the sword of Your Spirit and the shield of faith. You will take care of the rubble and the gaps in the wall and the fiery darts of the enemy. My task is to remember that You are Elohim. You created all things and by You all things have their being. You are El Roi, the God who sees and knows every circumstance of my life, every tree that I hide beneath. You are El Elyon, the Sovereign God Most High, who is in control of everything. Nothing can touch me that hasn’t been first sifted through Your loving hands. You are El Shaddai, my All-Sufficient God, my Almighty King, full of strength and power, able to keep every promise You make. You are my Strong Tower against whom no power on earth, in heaven or in hell can prevail.
When I remember and focus on who You are, how can I be afraid? How can I be weary? You renew my strength and enable me to continue to fight on my knees for my family and my home. Encourage me, Jesus, to keep my eyes firmly fixed on You. Teach me to be like Nehemiah who “carefully looked things over” and then stood firm proclaiming Your truth. Equip me, sustain me, help me persevere, to stand guard and to pray on, doing the work You have laid out for me.