In this time of anxiety there are some things we all need. I talked to Cher Marvel last week and the Boys and Girls Club is reopening ... it is unknown how this will go. We are continuing to hold 9 AM and 11 AM services, modified as they are ... it is up in the air how all of this will unfold. I heard of the job turmoil of some of my friends ... none of us know how this will turn out. And I read of the opposition to rebuilding Jerusalem's wall in Nehemiah 4 ... and I remember that turmoil isn't an outlier ... it is the norm. We look at all of this and say, "I can't see how this will turn out well!" But God can!
I heard the story of a cat that was relocated by a nasty neighbor. The owner looked and looked and finally found out a general area where the cat was taken. She posted fliers, she rode through the neighborhood, she looked in nearby woods, she put out food, but nothing happened. Oh ... she did one more thing ... she prayed. Six weeks passed and it seemed that all, including the cat, was lost. Then she made one last trip and prayed one last prayer ... "If the cat isn't here I know I have to stop looking ... but Lord, please help!" She heard a meow and walking toward her was the cat, a bit worn and frazzled, but very alive. To her the cat was lost ... but God can find things!
Here are the words from Nehemiah 4:1-2 "When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” People can't see past the rubble, the brokenness, the trouble, the obstacles and the ruins. But God can!There is a beautiful song with the words ... "When the mountains fall, and the tempest roars, you are with me ... when creation folds, still my soul will soar in your mercy, I'll walk through the fire with my head lifted high and my spirit revived in your story, and I'll look to the cross as my failure is lost, in the light of your glorious grace ... " The song is called Glorious Ruins and it reminds me of the walls of Jerusalem, fallen, broken and waiting for a God who can revive and restore them. It reminds me of a lost cat and the lost hope of a woman. It reminds me of a nation of people who see ruins and wonder "will the stones come back to life!?" We can't see the hope, the rebuilding or the restoration ... but God can! Nehemiah had hope, faith and he told the naysayers ... "The God of heaven will give us success!"