A pastor in Guangdong province encouraged believers in difficulties to rely on God based on the verses from Nehemiah.
“Breakthrough and Construction Under Siege: Support in Times of Difficulties” was the second of a series of sermons from the book of Nehemiah at the Zion Church. Pastor Yang Yongchun continued his teaching from the second chapter.
Pastor Yang first explained Nehemiah’s two predicaments in rebuilding the holy city: his identity and his work. Regarding his identity, Nehemiah was a conquered person, and it was hard for him to go back to rebuild his hometown. Regarding the work, Jerusalem, the holy city he wanted to rebuild, had become dilapidated.
Using the two words “wholeheartedness” and “endeavors”, Pastor Yang shared how Nehemiah relied on God to deal with the difficulties of his own and his work.
Confronting difficulties, Nehemiah did not complain. Though he was confused, not knowing where the road was leading, and sad at times, he chose to rely on God when making decisions. Pastor Yang pointed out that many people have a misunderstanding about faith. “We think that only in prosperity can we praise God, rely on God, and see God's moving. However, every child who belongs to God, will in his or her life, definitely learn about relying on God in adversity. It will help one see God’s greater work."
Pastor Yang then shared two short stories. One was about visiting a professor who was paralyzed and bedridden due to an illness. He talked with him for more than an hour. The professor shared with Yang all about gratitude, including gratitude for his wife, his work, his doctor and so on. The professor praised God for the grace he experienced during his illness and did not complain at all.
The other story was a talk with a sister who was born in 1992. This sister has had four successive heart operations in the past two years. Although she deeply loved the Lord, she couldn’t accept such things happening to herself. She had many arguments with God until she finally heard God’s response: “Be a patient with a sense of mission”. When she really lived these words, people in the ward saw a difference in her. She witnessed God's support in her predicament to other believers when she did the visiting job later.
Pastor Yang concluded, “We will not be exempted from birth, death, illness, old age, as well as the vicissitudes of life because we have faith. The key point lies in whether we learn to rely on God and hand everything over to Him. We should learn not to struggle or torture ourselves too much. In his predicament, Nehemiah gave himself over to God's sovereignty and relied on God wholeheartedly”.
Pastor Yang then shared that Nehemiah also did not lose his sense of duty. “The king said to me, ‘What are you requesting?’” (Nehemiah 2:4) Nehemiah replied wisely. He thought about it thoroughly and made preparation, making detailed plans about the support and resources he needed. “Try to bring together those who can be so that more people can work with him. This is Nehemiah’s attitude,” said Yang.
“Endeavour to do what you should do, and then give it to God, without worrying too much.” It's a lesson we can learn from Nehemiah.
Finally, Pastor Yang pointed out that many of us often have dislocations in our work or life. For example, we feel overwhelmed by important responsibilities assigned by leaders and then complain. But when we do not have many things to do, we feel we are not valued by leaders and cannot find value and meaning. In this regard, Yang encouraged us: “God gives us our days, and we shall learn to cherish time and endeavor to live well”.
- Translated by Stephen Huang