Worrying Often Gives A Small Thing A Big Shadow
Most of us would agree with Jody Picoult that anxiety is like a rocking chair. It gives us something to do, but it doesn’t get us far. We understand at a common-sense level that neither worrying nor being anxious are a good use of our time, but we may still get comfort from them and keep them as close friends.
Others may not know how much power they assert over us. We are good at keeping our feelings hidden. Who is burdened down by stress, fear, doubt, physical or emotional pain, yet smiling on the outside? What should we do when we find ourselves feeling discouraged, even feeling broken and unable to put our pieces back together?
Many would like to throw anxiety away and trash their habit of worrying. Sometimes we can do so, but other times we cannot conquer stress, worry, and opposition from others by our power or strength. In the book of Nehemiah in the bible, the Israelites had good reason for anxiety. The Israelites were stuck in a weak and hopeless situation. Often there are no quick or easy fixes for our circumstances. The Israelites had forgotten that God is not indifferent or uncaring to our concerns.
Nehemiah was a Jew or Israelite born in Persia during the Exile to Babylon. He was the cupbearer to Persia’s king. Nehemiah’s job was a highly esteemed position in the king’s court; as cupbearer, Nehemiah tasted all wine brought before the king to ensure it was not poison.
Nehemiah shared with the king that the Jews who had returned from exile to Jerusalem faced opposition and reproach. They were surrounded by enemies who mocked them as weak and despised because the walls of their city, Jerusalem, were in ruin, and its gates were burned.
Nehemiah was concerned for the Israelites at Jerusalem and asked the king for permission to go to Jerusalem, an area under the Persian King’s control, to help his people there. God blessed Nehemiah’s plan to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city’s walls. The king commissioned Nehemiah to act as governor of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah not only returned to Jerusalem but led the Jews there to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in 52 days despite intimidation and threats from those near them who did not want the Jews to rebuild their city and themselves as God’s people.
Nehemiah as governor to Jerusalem brought God’s love in a hands-on way to the discouraged and struggling people of God. Nehemiah encouraged and strengthened the Israelites in rebuilding the walls and gates of their city. This fast rebuilding of Jerusalem convinced surrounding nations that the Israelites had accomplished their rebuilding with the help of their God.
The Israelites were stuck, unable to rebuild their city until God sent Nehemiah to their rescue. God rescues and restores those who wait in trust for Him to help them. God is working his will for us and tells us to trust him and to stop worrying. Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12: 25) God knows how He will cure our anxiety and restore our hope and future. We may need to wait for God to act.