Each of us are called by God to do very distinct things. They are very specific to us and have been ordained by God. In Psalm 139, David refers to “the days that were formed for me”. To me, this so clearly lays out God’s sovereignty and goodness. That, before I even was, He formed my days. As a believer in Christ, it is our purpose to make His name known—our callings fulfill and help us carry out our purpose. Our purpose is steadfast and never changing, yet our callings are specific daily.
Recently, I have spent a good amount of time in book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah is so rich in obedience and leadership. It can clearly speak to each of us who are trying to live out our purpose through our everyday callings. Here are a couple things I have learned that I hope and pray speak to you in your season of ministry and push you to endure:
1. You will encounter opposition.
For Nehemiah and the Jews, opposition came in the form of mockery (4: 1-3) and physical attack (4: 7-8). Suffering, in the midst of living out your calling, is not only inevitable, but it is promised. In 2 Timothy 3:12 it states, “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. In Chapter 2 of Nehemiah, we see how “the good hand of my God” was upon him. As we look through Nehemiah 4, we continue to see God’s favor on his life. This is our story too. The good hand of our God is upon us, even when the light is dim and our circumstances are “bad”. If we have surrendered to His Lordship, we are indeed victorious even in the midst of battle.
2. We have what we need to fight.
In verses 13-23, we see the fight at hand. The most important thing we use to fight is prayer (verses 4 and 9). Not praying against the opposition but praying for strength, endurance, and faith amidst the suffering. I love how they prepare themselves for battle in the process of building the wall—they grab their armor and keep building. In verse 17 we see they “each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other”. What a beautiful picture of the “good fight”. We face spiritual warfare every day. Putting on our Ephesians 6 armor and fighting is imperative. Just because we are in a fight each day does not mean we should slack off or stop building the wall God has called us to build. We fight and build. It goes hand in hand.
3. It takes a village.
The whole city took part in building the wall—what a testament to community. We are all wired for community, and you cannot do this on your own. Community surrounds you to strengthen and encourage you. Sometimes it is not fun to build the wall. Sometimes you want to quit. Sometimes you do not feel equipped. Sometimes you feel like the odds are against you. Community is not your savior, but it is lifeblood given by your Savior. Community is set in place to stir you on.
4. Building the wall is worth it.
Obedience is difficult, but worth it. The most reassuring fact we must rest on is that “our God will fight for us” (vs. 20). Sometimes the load gets heavy. Sometimes you do not feel you will ever see the wall come to fruition. Keep building, fight the good fight, and do not give up. When certain walls come to completion, “remember the Lord” (vs. 14) and turn the praise to him. He is the one that provides the way and ordains the steps. He gives the victory in due time. Whatever He has called you to—trust him, have faith, endure, press on, and keep building to fulfill His purpose for you.