I was reading the book of Nehemiah this week. The work God called the people to do was causing tension for some opposing critics. I am inspired by Nehemiah’s dedication to serving God along with other devoted people and staying on task.
The opposition sent a letter accusing them, under Nehemiah’s leadership, of building a wall for the wrong reasons, plotting a revolt, and making power plays to appoint their own king. I love Nehemiah’s reply:
“Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” (Nehemiah 6:8, NIV)
Something about Nehemiah’s response has a simplicity, lightness, and even a taste of humor to it. He didn’t reply with a detailed counter to all the false accusations. He kept it simple and honest. He spoke heart centered truth that brought light to false assumptions that were driven by misguided information.
I have discovered that when there is a misunderstanding between people, missing information in a relationship, or a space created between us by some hurt or jealousy, either ours or someone else’s, we tend to make assumptions that may not be true.
In fact, the natural tendency is to fill in the blank spaces between us with the worst possible assumptions. We can even listen to voices that give fuel to mistaken conclusions, ill-advised choices, and unwise conversations.
In our own heads, we may not really know what is actually going on. There usually is more to the story.
So, Nehemiah simply states that they are thinking wrongly and things aren’t what they are thinking. After a brief reply to the accusations, what did Nehemiah do next?
He prayed (Nehemiah 6:9).
Then, rather than get consumed or distracted by the drama of it all, he got back to work. He stayed on mission. He finished the work God gave him to do. He shed the strife and kept on serving.
Father, help us to do the same. Lead us to prayer. Help us to stay on mission together, even when opposing voices may seek to distract us.
What are you assuming?
What opportunities is God giving you to serve?