(Or is it the other way around?)
There’s a lot to be said for a Bible reading plan of some sort. After years of struggling to spend time in Scripture every day, I’ve finally realized that I’m more likely to be successful if I don’t have to pick a place to start reading every day. In years past, I’ve simply started in Genesis and read through to the end of Revelation. That takes me quite a while. Some days I read several chapters, other days one or two verses are plenty. I read until God speaks, then underline, make margin notes, and pray about what He’s shown me.
Thus it is that I find myself at the beginning of Nehemiah. With the blessing of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah leads a relatively small number of Jews back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, which had been demolished when the Jews were taken into captivity. At first things go swimmingly, but then the workers begin to run out of steam. Even worse, opposition builds. It seems that some of the pagan officials don’t like the Jews very much. They try to intimidate the builders, threatening their lives.
I love how Nehemiah deals with the threat: “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Neh. 4:9)
Pete and I aren’t exactly building a wall, but we do have a God-given ministry. Pete is founder and CEO of a small organization devoted to what we call “Spirit-Led Technology.” (I could explain further, but it would be a giant rabbit trail right now.) God has been leading us in this direction for decades, and lately we’re excited to be entering a new phase of increased exposure. Apparently someone doesn’t like that.
In addition, we’ve been working hard to get our house onto the market, so it sells before we have to pay for the new one being built in a new neighborhood a few miles away. Our goal in this respect is to simplify our lives by downsizing—smaller house, much smaller lot, and hopefully a lot fewer home-related chores. Someone doesn’t like that idea either.
The distractions keep piling up. The broken furnace. The flu. Computer problems. A lack of funding. Home repairs going wrong. Distractions. And now the latest—
Earlier this week Pete fell on our icy driveway, landing on his back and fracturing two ribs. Ouch. His aging laptop went flying, and the screen cracked. It would cost more to repair than the computer is worth. Did I mention that once again our ministry funds are depleted? There’s no money for a new laptop.
That’s bad enough, but we’re scheduled to load our second storage “pod” tomorrow, and now he can’t easily lift much of anything.
And, he leaves in six days for a two-week trip to Europe, where he will be the keynote speaker at ICCM-Europe. He needs a working computer. He needs to be able to lug luggage through airports, maneuver cramped airplane aisles, and endure other rigors of travel. Did I mention that he hurts?
So… we prayed to our God, and we let people know of our need for a computer and for healing prayer.
A few hours after we sent the first email, a donor offered to pay most of the cost for a new computer. What a huge blessing!
We’re trusting God to send us enough volunteers to help load our belongings for storage. We’re trusting Him to manage Pete’s pain so that he can travel to Europe and be effective while he’s there. We’re trusting God to heal broken bones in His timing.
So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. (Neh. 6:15-16)
May God be glorified in us as well.