In the glow of a full moon Nehemiah examines the walls of Jerusalem. Strewn everywhere were burnt, damaged stones making it impossible to get close. The gashes in the walls made his heart ache for his people.
They’ve lived with this damage for almost an hundred years now. They are merely survivors in a city exposed to anyone who desired to rob or kill. They live in constant insecurity, fear and disgrace. Unknown to them, someone had a design to rebuild. God sent someone to make Jerusalem whole again.
Nehemiah had a plan before he laid eyes on shattered Jerusalem. Now as he looked at the rubble and the gaping holes he saw a whole and beautiful city. He saw the people living in security, not merely existing.
When he shared his plan, the people responded immediately: “Let’s start rebuilding.”
Yet they could have resisted. “It’s an impossible project…the city is cursed, the situation can’t be changed…we’ve lived with it this long…look what happened the last time we stuck our necks out…it’s doomed to failure.” They were ready to end their old way of life. God had something better for these people. It is time to allow the master builder to do his work.
God equipped and empowered Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. The burnt, damaged stones became useful again. First the accumulated filth and the old mortar had to be cleaned off. Then the chipped stones smoothed over. These stones that laid lifeless now were placed into the gaping holes. In effect they were given new life. A broken down city became whole and beautiful again. The people could now live the way God intended.
Has past hurts left gaping holes in your life? Do you feel as though you are merely surviving and not experiencing abundant life? Do you look at the damage and feel that God has no use, no purpose for you?
Life can shell out some damaging missiles that leave us broken and charred. Existing in this broken city, we can never be the person God intended. The gaping holes make us feel insecure and fearful. Yet we can live with the damage for many years.
Fear can hold back the rebuilding that is needed to heal. We push God back from examining the wound, the pain is too great. It seems quite hopeless. “I’ve lived with it this long; too much rubbish has accumulated over the years. I’m an impossible project.” We can even grow numb to the pain, ignoring it yet its effect is a hindrance to an abundant life.
God looks at your broken down walls and sees a beautiful whole person. He sees something He can use. It’s not hopeless to Him. Only God can take the damaged parts of your life and make something so stunning that people will have no doubt there has been a Master Builder at work.
He has a special design just for you and He has the power to see it through. In Philippians 1:6 it says, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Even when you didn’t see it happening, when you were completely unaware of a plan, God already had designed what he would do. Why has He accomplished so much in your life if He intends to give up? If He begins to build will He not finish it? Why did He begin in the first place?
The enemies of Nehemiah asked, “Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble-burned as they are?”
Can a broken life be whole and useful again? Yes it can.
Just the fact that I am sitting here writing this is a testimony of what God’s grace can accomplish. At the age of five, a strange man molested me. This left me with gaping wounds. I was insecure, fearful, and filled with shame for many years. I was merely surviving. I certainly didn’t see any potential in myself, but someone did. My God looked at the broken down walls and saw something beautiful. He had a plan for me. I just had to trust Him.
Trusting is hard for someone who has been damaged badly. Fear kept the Healer away. Unforgiveness also kept needed healing away. My rebuilding began the day when I saw a woman on TV talk about her struggle with deep hurts. I felt something stir within me as she shared how she forgave her offenders. I knew this was the next step for me. I confessed, “Lord I forgive the man who molested me.” I unloaded my heavy burden, never to pick it up again.
Thankfully my God never gave up on me. He allured me with His gentle, tender love. He showed me He could be someone I could trust. When I finally allowed Him to do His work, He picked up those burnt, damaged stones and did a miracle. He cleaned them off, smoothed out the chipped places and set them back into place. The stones glowed in His touch. The great Master Builder restored me and made me whole and beautiful again.
He can do the same for you. He has “plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). I have a message of hope and it’s centered in Jesus. He can be trusted, don’t push Him away. The very stones that once caused such pain now will bring glory to the Master Builder. Others will look at His work and know there is hope for their damaged lives too.