“All true passion is born out of anguish. All true passion for Christ comes out of a baptism of anguish. You search the scripture and you’ll find that when God determined to recover a ruined situation, He would seek out a praying man, and He’d take him down into the waters of anguish. He would share his own anguish for what God saw happening to His church and to His people, and he would find a praying man, and he would take that man and literally baptize him in anguish. You find it in the book of Nehemiah. Jerusalem is in ruins. This is the center of God’s interests on earth at the time, His holy city is wasted and it’s full of iniquity.” (David Wilkerson, “A Call to Anguish,” 9/15/2002)
We spend a great deal of time dreaming up big things for God – fashioning a mission for Him and His church, only to find it wasn’t God’s mission at all. And, at times, we may find it was God’s mission, but not for us. Then there are times when He invites us into His world to see things from His perspective, and He calls us to join HIm in what He is about to do. We see this woven into the narrative of God’s Word through the lives of Abraham, Moses, and here, Nehemiah. The ruins of Jerusalem are archetypal of the spiritual condition of Judah.
What if Nehemiah just threw up his hands and walked away, saying “I can’t – it’s a mess. This is hopeless and not worth the fight. It’s just too much-it isn’t worth it”? God takes us to the depths of reality before He raises us to the heights of His power and purpose. Out of the ruins of despair, disillusionment, destruction and doubt, God’s mission is born; a season of awakening, repentance and reconciliation is about to occur. God invites Nehemiah to join Him in accomplishing this mission. As Henry Blackaby would say, “It was a God-sized task.” Often when the Father reveals His purposes and ways to His people and invites them to join Him, the initial response is “we can’t do this.” But when someone decides to embrace God’s mission, He will take them first and foremost to the profound realization of their sin, weakness, inadequacy and humanity – why? When we finally reach the end of ourselves, that is where the Father begins!
The more we fall weak before Him on our knees, the more He shows us Himself and what He is about to do. Like Moses, Jonah or Gideon, we question, doubt, and make excuses. Or, like the apostles, when challenged to feed the multitudes, we see, assess and address the situation through human reason and resources. But when we offer ourselves up to the Lord’s purposes, He takes us beyond ourselves and like Isaiah, He creates character to match the assignment. At just the right time, the Father provides all we need to accomplish what He has placed before us. Embracing God’s mission doesn’t mean we resolve to work harder for God, but make whatever adjustments needed in order to work with Him as He works in and through us in ways we would’ve never imagined on our own.
Pastor of Worship