Henry David Thoreau once wrote,“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
Everybody is in a struggle in one form or another.
Looking back in the Old Testament, Nehemiah’s people were struggling too. They were overwhelmed and discouraged when they were tasked with rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. They were being taunted and disrespected by their neighbors who would go so far as to threaten to sabotage their project before it was even completed. So God put it in Nehemiah’s heart words of encouragement to not to be afraid of the circumstances, but to remember the Lord in the midst of their fight.
Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.”
Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.”
Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
Sometimes our struggles are so great that it feels like a physical one, senior pastor John Stange of Core Creek Community Church says. Stange has a great sermon series on the book of Nehemiah that is really enlightening. He reinforces the concept that daily struggles we go through, even tough they may FEEL physical, are really spiritual.
Or as Paul warned the church at Ephesus…
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Nehemiah encouraged his team not to give up, but to set their eyes on the Lord who would get them through the hardships and fear they faced. Sometimes we need to be reminded of this notion and set our eyes on the Lord to get us through our situation.
Most of the time, we forget this and find our eyes looking down on ourselves and our circumstances, instead of looking up towards Jesus. When we remember all that He can do on our behalf, we find it easier to no longer be consumed with our momentary circumstances.
Christ invites us to pray with Him when things are looking low and to praise Him when things are looking up. Think about it. This concept teaches us to align ourselves in a direction that has us looking towards Him, no matter where the circumstances at hand are pointing. When we embrace this, we are better equipped to deal with whatever life decides to throw our way, for better or worse.