(Today’s post by Joshua Jones)
One of C.S. Lewis’s most memorable quotes is from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe:
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Many have compared Aslan to God. And the quote rings even truer.
God has a plan for us. And His plan is probably not safe. But it IS good.
Throughout the Bible, we see that God has a definite plan for his people. In the book of Nehemiah, this is abundantly clear. Israel’s magnificent city, Jerusalem, had been ransacked when the Jews were take into captivity by the Babylonians. Upon hearing of its state of decay, Nehemiah set out to restore the city, its walls, and gates. With the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem complete, it was important that the Jews inhabited the city. The city would need to be protected from the enemy. As well, God was not finished with his chosen people. If after rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, the people deserted the city, what purpose would there be? God’s people would inhabit Jerusalem once again- to be a witness to God’s grace and favor over his people. In this chapter, we see the leaders who stepped up to live in the holy city. Additionally, one out of every ten of the Jews was sent to Jerusalem to live.
So what can we learn from this?
First, God always has a plan for his people. Even when it seems dark and hopeless, God knows what he is doing. The people of Israel had been exiled from their home country. Now, with the work of Nehemiah in building up the walls of Jerusalem, they were being welcomed back. God’s promises are sure. Keep holding on to the hope of his promises.
Second, in order to finish the work that had been started in Jerusalem, God needed people to live in the city. This call was not a safe one; they never knew when the city would come under attack again, but someone had to take the risk. Never underestimate the importance of being physically present where God wants you. It may not be needed for you to perform a dramatic miracle, but just being where God calls you is ministry. Through the steps taken by the people of Israel in faith, the city of Jerusalem was repopulated, the nation was revitalized, and future generations were greatly impacted.
So, where is God calling you? Maybe you just need to go. Don’t worry about the logistics, God will provide. You don’t need to be a fantastic preacher or miracle-worker, God will equip you along the way. As we see in the second half of this chapter, Nehemiah lists the names of those who came to Jerusalem to help rebuild. These names may seem insignificant, but God rewarded each of these people for the ministry that they did for Israel. Never think your ministry is too insignificant- God sees what you are doing, and will honor you for the work you are doing for his kingdom.