A while back, a faithful friend saw that I was struggling and responded by reminding me of who I am in Christ. I had become discouraged over some now forgotten difficulty. And rather than telling me to “cheer up” or how to fix things, my friend simply reminded me of the truth of who God is and what He is like. Today I have forgotten the difficulty, but I’m still remembering how God used a friend to remind me of God’s faithful love. 

Recently, as I sat reading the opening account of Nehemiah, where he hears of the distress of his people and their beloved city Jerusalem, whose walls still lay in ruins, my thoughts returned to our recent study of the book of Daniel. I was struck by a common theme. 

In Daniel 11, he describes a vision of things to come. Tucked away in the breathtaking vision is a simple statement that has strengthened me and challenged me to live on a steady diet of remembering God’s “hesed” or steadfast love toward his children. In the midst of great suffering, the vision tells us, “but the people who know their God display strength and take action.” (Daniel 11:32) While there is so much more to the vision in a larger context, I am always struck by those words, “the people who know their God”. Oh, how I want to live with the strength that comes from knowing and remembering what he’s like. 

This is Nehemiah as he prays, and fasts, and repents before the Lord. Even as he speaks to the Lord, he is reminding himself of what God is like. 

“I said, ‘Lord, the God of the heavens, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps his gracious covenant with those who love him and keep his commands…’” (1:5)

With disastrous news, Nehemiah prayed and remembered that God had not changed. He prayed, knowing that he could boldly ask God to act on behalf of his people and the reputation of his name. Then he stood, and with renewed strength, he took action. May we be a people who know our God, displaying strength and taking action for the good and the blessing of our community and for the sake of the kingdom this year. 

Nicole Jiles
Director of Faith Kids

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