One of my favorite verses that speaks so profoundly to my heart:
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:4
This verse captivated my heart a few years ago when I truly felt God was picking up the wreckage from the residue of my life and turning it into something whole, beautiful, and new. It has been a journey walking with God through the new thing that He has been doing. He has restored places I thought were too broken to be mended. He has rebuilt walls and breathed new life in dead places. It hasn’t been easy though and it is not an overnight thing. I have felt resistance in my heart at times, I have had situations, people, worries and fears that take my eyes off of the truth that He will do what He promises: rebuild all, not some, but all of my brokenness.
I came across another verse the other day though that speaks to the things that happen when God is doing a new thing, when God is rebuilding the ruins of our hearts. The book of Nehemiah tells of Nehemiah’s call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and stand firm in what God had called him to and yet he met resistance, obstacles, nay Sayers and hecklers.
“When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Nehemiah 4:1-2
Look at some of these phrases,
“What are those feeble Jews doing”
Notice the word feeble. Do you ever feel that way? Weak? Lacking strength? I do, I know I am weak and when I focus on my weaknesses I lose sight of God’s strength. Our victory doesn’t lie within our own feeble efforts. It’s not in our strength but in His most perfect strength. In our weakness He is strong. It’s irrelevant whether or not we feel we possess the endurance or ability because we don’t have what it takes but God lacks nothing. His power and might are endless. He never tires and never grows weary. So our weakness is met with His perfect strength and we become capable through Him to do what He calls us to.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
“Will they restore their wall”
They? You? Me? No. Will God restore it? Yes. If it lines up with His perfect will you better believe that wall is going up. Don’t doubt what God says He is going to do.
“Will they finish in a day”
We want instant results or we begin to doubt God. I find myself questioning and discouraged when I feel my growth or healing doesn’t happen overnight. But God holds all things together that I cannot see. Even when it feels like the time is lagging, I have to trust that it is His perfect timing and not my timetable. Can He do it overnight. He could but that is irrelevant, His perfect will and timing will always be better than mine. I am so thankful that God has and continues to take time with me. I am so glad He knows how much growth I can handle and actually hang onto.
Lastly and most important this is what I love the most –
Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble – burned as they are?”
Can they? Can you or me turn stones into life? No. But God, maker of heaven and earth, the one who specializes in rebuilding can. There will always be opposition, there will always be resistance when God is doing a “new” thing in us. The enemy of our souls isn’t fond of rebuilding. He specializes in destroying, he is the master at taunting us and keeping us in the same bondage as Eve with that age old question “did God say?” Because if he can place doubt in our hearts for even a second, we will take that ball and run with it, believe it and be defeated. The moment those “did God say” thoughts pop in our heads is the exact moment we must replace the lie with what God did say…
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
I don’t know what ruins you are facing, maybe you have struggled with depression, anxiety and fear, maybe you are struggling to rebuild your family, a relationship, maybe your body has failed you. Maybe you are waiting for God to do a new thing and it feels like it isn’t happening quick enough. Maybe there is a space that you feel is a heap of rubble. Remember what Jesus did on the cross, remember that He rose to life, remember that He is King of bringing dead things to life and you are no exception.
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth. Psalm 71:20