And they said unto me, “The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.” And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days and fasted, and prayed before God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:3-4
A typical thought is that when something is broken, it can never be fixed. Some would say it is ruined. Others may say it will never be the same again, but with God, that is not the case. I want to start this column by saying there isn’t anything that God can’t fix, and I will go further to say that God takes broken pieces and makes everything beautiful.
God’s people and Jerusalem in Nehemiah are only one of many examples in the Bible of God taking brokenness and creating beauty. As you can see in Nehemiah 1:3-4, the book starts with an emotional Nehemiah, but as you read through the twelve chapters of the book of Nehemiah, you will see beauty, miracles, and God-filled people. It is my favorite book about this transformational brokenness to beauty.
The process to get all this started is easily found in Nehemiah 1:4, “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days and fasted, and prayed before God of heaven.”
It started with identifying the brokenness. This step can be challenging, I believe. If we are being honest, denial sometimes can be easier than admission. Think about it this way. You turn your car into a pole at the drive-through. You quickly look at the damage and start to reason how much damage has occurred. Anyone who has ever experienced this will know what I mean when I say ignoring the damage will lead to more problems.
When God incarnate came to planet Earth, Jesus found lots of damage that had been let go for way too long. Like Nehemiah’s perspective, we were broken, and God’s people needed to be fixed. This repair begins with us admitting that the dents, scrapes, and loose parts are present in our lives, and the master mechanic is Jesus. Listen to John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but the world through him might be saved.”
Following Nehemiah’s truthful observation, next, we see the progression of steps. Take some time to mourn. God understands our emotions; after all, He created them, but then we have to hand them over to God. Fasting and praying is a whole topic in and of itself, but in short, it is our way as believers to give everything to God. It is the act of not letting anything distract us from what needs to be handed over to the One who can fix everything and make everything beautiful.
Listen to the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” The process is not in our control, not in our time, and not in our way.
These three statements might frustrate us, but it is the only way. God’s ways are higher than ours, and his thoughts are higher than ours. Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey. Follow the process, and I promise you will experience the beauty that God will provide. Next week we will look closer at the splendor of our God, but until then, identify your broken pieces, hand them to God, and get prepared for the amazing things God will do in your life. God bless you.