Sunday was the final week of the “So help me God” series taken from the book of Nehemiah. The series ended with the story of Nehemiah refusing to be distracted by his detractors, refusing to be intimidated by his enemies, refusing to “come down” until his miracle was complete.
I think chapter 6 of the book of Nehemiah may be one of the most important lessons one can learn about accomplishing anything in life. I think there’s nothing more powerful than gritting your teeth and refusing to quit, even when the odds are stacked against you. Amazing opportunity + ridiculous odds = Gods Gift. The trick to getting to the miracle part is surviving the “ridiculous odds” part. Nehemiah had that part DOWN.
Here’s something you might not expect from a guy famous for gritting his teeth and “getting the job done”. Nehemiah didn’t attribute his strength to tenacity…to “mental toughness”…to “not being a quitter”. Instead he told others after the project was done, that the JOY of the Lord was the source of strength.
10 And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!”
I love that. (And not just because he seems to be recommending that “Godly” church celebrations should include home-made fudge and umbrella drinks…just sayin’) There are DIFFICULTIES that come with attempting anything great in life. Those difficulties and problems MULTIPLY when we are followers of Christ giving our lives to serving God by serving others. The good news is that the answer is JOY. Fun even in the midst of “unfunny” times. Celebration and laughter have just as much place in our lives of worship as do prayer and tears.