In at the deep end
Father, help me to recognize the places where You have given me influence and to use that for You.
Read NEHEMIAH 2:1–10
 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before,  so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid,  but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”  The king said to me, “What is it you want?” Then I prayed to the God of heaven,  and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”  Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.  I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah?  And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests.  So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.  When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does Nehemiah do before answering the question?
Nehemiah has come to work with a long face. His sad demeanor is based on worthy grounds, and it is to the king’s credit that he not only notices the sadness of heart of his employee but immediately seeks to help him. Nehemiah knows that he needs to ask big and admits to being “very much afraid” (2). At this point it would have been very easy to say, “I’m fine, thanks.” But we can imagine him taking a deep breath as he says a quick prayer (4; putting the seal on all the days in prayer he has already spent) and explains his desire to rebuild Jerusalem (5). Just like that! We might expect the king to hesitate and ask further questions, but he trusts Nehemiah implicitly. God’s hand is upon them both as the king simply asks him what he wants. And because Nehemiah has prayed and prepared for this moment he has the confidence to ask big. When we are confident that our plans for God have his backing then we can ask big, too.
What are you longing to do for God, though it may seem too big for you? Pray, prepare and step out where God leads.
God, help me not underestimate what You can do through me.
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