When we last saw Nehemiah, he was asking a pretty cantankerous king for a paid vacation so he could go home to rebuild his city. He had gone from zero to hero in the length of time it took him to make his request.
Nehemiah 2:11 So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, 12 I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding. 13 After dark I went out through the Valley Gate, past the Jackal’s Well, and over to the Dung Gate to inspect the broken walls and burned gates. 14 Then I went to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but my donkey couldn’t get through the rubble. 15 So, though it was still dark, I went up the Kidron Valley instead, inspecting the wall before I turned back and entered again at the Valley Gate.
Although Nehemiah doesn’t start whining or backing down on his commitment, something about what he writes here makes me feel like things were worse than he expected.
Here’s the point in many of my good intentions that my actions stall. I see something that needs to get done and then realize it is a lot tougher to do than I thought. Usually, this results in yet another epic fail on my part, an unfinished task, chore or masterpiece. Who knows? I may have given up on multiple epic moments because they were more work than I originally thought they would be.
But Nehemiah was not riding the wave of self-confidence. He was relying on what God could do.
When I am overwhelmed to the point of giving up, I am only placing my faith in what I can do. But God can do so much more with what little I am.
Nehemiah could never walk out into that rubble and ruin and rebuilt it. It would take years and hundreds of thousands of hours of manpower. It would take overcoming opposition and setbacks. It would take so much more than any one man could do.
But God spoke the world into being and he was behind rebuilding that city. It was a walk in the park for him and Nehemiah knew it.
There’s a lot of overwhelming stuff I have to do, get through, survive, endure and rebuild. I can’t possibly do any of it.
But God can and he is on my side doing all the heavy work for me.