Google can’t answer your heart’s deepest questions. Only God can do that.
You’re searching for an answer to something you care about deeply. Maybe it’s your family situation. Maybe it’s the salvation of your kid. Maybe your friend continues to make bad choices.
Nonetheless, you’re approaching God in desperation. Why? Because He holds the power to provide an answer.
That’s what happens to Nehemiah.
You see, Nehemiah finds himself in Susa—a city in the Medo-Persian Empire—working as the cup-bearer for King Artaxerxes. As a God-fearing Jew, Nehemiah is passionate about his homeland, Jerusalem.
Nehemiah writes, “Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
They said to me, ‘Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.’
When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven” (Nehemiah 1:2-4 NLT).
I love how Nehemiah spends days desperately searching for God. And he finds an answer. Nehemiah knows he must ask the king for permission to leave Susa. God is calling him to Jerusalem.
Sometimes, it takes a continuous search to find God’s prompting. Nehemiah even prays while asking for the king’s permission.
He writes, “With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, ‘If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried’” (2:4-5 NLT).
The king consents, for no man can prohibit God’s plan. God answers Nehemiah, and he eventually finds himself in Jerusalem. Now what?
This is where God’s recent word to me comes into play. An answer is the beginning of a great work.
Often times, we take God’s answer and run. Then, when we need another answer, we come running back to Him. But the answer isn’t the end. Just because we have the answer doesn’t mean the situation is over. God wants us to act on the answer.
That’s what Nehemiah does.
“So I arrived in Jerusalem. Three days later, 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…” (2:11-12 NLT).
The Bible says that Nehemiah first inspects the damage to Jerusalem’s walls. Then, he reveals God’s plan to others. He writes, “But now I said to them, ‘You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!’ Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.
They replied at once, ‘Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!’ So they began the good work” (2:17-18 NLT).
Nehemiah knows that an answer is the beginning of a great work. After seeking God like crazy, he finds himself with a heart-felt answer. But the story doesn’t stop there. Nehemiah takes God’s response and puts it to use. As a result, Nehemiah is greatly responsible for major renovations in Jerusalem’s history.
If you’re struggling to find God’s answer, don’t give up! If you know God’s answer, don’t merely walk away. God is way too good to only approach during uncertainty.
Take the step. Ask your king. Apply for the job. Visit the college. Do your part. An answer is the beginning of a great work.
Isaiah Pauley is a senior at Wahama High School. He can be followed at www.isaiahpauley.com, or on Facebook at Isaiah Pauley Page.