Finding Joy in a Difficult Season

In so many ways life is not normal now. High school seniors are graduating without ceremony . . . the elderly are isolated in nursing homes without visitors . . . completely unexpected job loss . . . health care workers are furloughed.

Currently I am reading the biography of John Adams by David McCullough. The book is giving me a picture of what life was like leading up to and during the American Revolution. There was disruption, suffering and many challenges. Yet, Abigail and John Adams persevered.

The little book of Nehemiah in the Bible describes the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. The people were challenged and threatened. They guarded the wall by night and labored during the day. Nehemiah kept his focus on the grace, mercy and faithfulness of God. He set an example for the people and provided leadership. In the midst of difficulty there was thanksgiving.

We have great examples of faith to encourage us. God’s word and prayer are resources for us.

The LORD is good,

a stronghold in the day of trouble;

he knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7

The joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

Every Friday Kate Motaung gives a writing prompt. Today’s prompt is: NORMAL. Linking this post with Five Minute Friday and Heart Encouragement.

How Do We Overcome Fear?

Fear can distract us from a life of faith.

In my morning Bible study I have been reading about Nehemiah’s leadership in rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem, the city with a temple for God’s presence.

The Jews had enemies that did not want them to rebuild the walls. At first these enemies jeered and mocked them. When that didn’t stop the work on the wall, the enemy made a plan to attack.

But when Sanballat and Tobiah and the Arabs and the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repairing of the walls of Jerusalem was going forward and that the breaches were beginning to be closed, they were angry. And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. Nehemiah 4:7-8

Nehemiah prayed.

And we prayed to our God and set a guard of protection against them day and night. Nehemiah 4:9

Some of the people let fear take hold of them.

In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.” Nehemiah 4:10

Nehemiah responded with a plan to guard every section of the wall as they rebuilt it. With prayer and dependence on God, with a strategic plan, the work continued.

As I mused on this text I thought about the way fear can be a controlling force. How is the cloud of fear surrounding the pandemic affecting me?

I can follow Nehemiah’s example of prayer. Nehemiah also had a practical plan, and then he stayed focused on the work God had called him to do.

More and more I have recognized my need for God’s wisdom. The time I spend in prayer is growing. My family has decisions to make regarding my mother’s care in the nursing home. The lockdown, the inability to visit is hard. 

We are encouraged to pray. Jesus is ready to intercede for us.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

 Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community and Heart Encouragement .