“Any new beginning is forged from the shards of the past, not from the abandonment of the past.” – Rev. Craig Lounsbrough
This quote from Rev. Lounsbrough is a fact of life. Our journey to 2023 doesn’t start from scratch. We always carry with us a baggage of the past. What is inside that baggage varies from one person to another. Some would carry the toughest, painful, and most negative experiences. Some prefer to carry a full load of happiest, amazing, and most wonderful events of their lives, while others would carry half and half. The big question is, what do you do with that baggage as you face the New Year? <!–split–>
Prophet Nehemiah has an answer for us “… I feel sad because the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and its gates have been burned 5 LORD God of heaven, you are great and fearsome. And you faithfully keep your promises to everyone who loves you and obeys your commands. 6 I am your servant, so please have mercy on me and answer the prayer that I make day and night for these people of Israel who serve you… We must rebuild the city wall so that we can again take pride in our city.“ Nehemiah 2: 3b, 17. Prophet Nehemiah did three things: 1) Expressed his feelings. 2) Come to God. 3) Take Action.
First, he was true with his feelings. When he learned about the devastation of Jerusalem, he wept. He was known as the crying prophet. In Nehemiah 1:4, it says, “When I heard this, I sat down on the ground and cried. Then for several days, I mourned; I went without eating to show my sorrow, and I prayed.” Prophet Nehemiah expressed his emotions. Denying deep emotions makes life harder. Pretentious life is even harder than its existing problems. Expression of emotions is an indication of accepting reality of life.
Second, Prophet Nehemiah prayed. In Nehemiah 1:5-6a, it says, “LORD God of heaven, you are great and fearsome. And you faithfully keep your promises to everyone who loves you and obeys your commands. 6 I am your servant, so please have mercy on me and answer the prayer that I make day and night for these people of Israel who serve you.” He didn’t just stay sulking; he came to God for rescue. Even in the depressing moments, Prophet Nehemiah calls out to his God whom he recognizes as divine, great, faithful and merciful. And truly believes God will answer his prayers.
Third, Prophet Nehemiah rebuilds the Jerusalem Wall. In Nehemiah 2:17 it says, “But when I got back, I said to them, “Jerusalem is truly in a mess! The gates have been torn down and burned, and everything is in ruins. We must rebuild the city wall so that we can again take pride in our city.” Heeding to God’s answers to his prayer, Prophet Nehemiah acted. He surveyed the ruined walls, looked for resources, asked for helpers, struggled with enemies, stayed firm, and finally rebuilt the city wall.
This New Year, lets survey our walls, express your feelings about it, pray to God for guidance and help and the start rebuilding your walls.
Have a Blessed and Hopeful 2023!