Revelation 1; Nehemiah 1-2; Psalm 96
Some things are more important than position or power. Nehemiah had a job that put him in a great position. He had power to influence the king. His life was comfortable, even luxurious by standards back then. Yet, for Nehemiah, it wasn’t enough…it wasn’t right. One day, the king caught Nehemiah, who apparently had always been joyful, in a time of sadness. It was hard for the king to understand at first because of the great job that Nehemiah had. “Therefore the king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.’ So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?’” (Nehemiah 2:2-3) This may not have been Nehemiah’s plan. When the king called him on his long face, Nehemiah became “dreadfully afraid.” It was a moment of truth. While not Nehemiah’s plan, it was an opportunity that God opened up and Nehemiah let the king now that as great as it was working for him in luxury, his heart was focused on the city that defined his people. If the city was broken down, it meant the people were too. Artaxerxes could have been enraged. He could have thrown Nehemiah in prison for his ingratitude. It was, however, a God-directed opportunity and the king helped Nehemiah to make arrangements to go back to Jerusalem. He gave him time away. He gave him protection. He gave him provision. God works through different emotions. As followers of Christ we are called to exhibit joy. At the same time, there are times when joy isn’t possible. When times of sadness come, we can be honest about our feelings and let people know the truth. Our God is strong enough to give us joy in all circumstances. He is also strong enough to work through our sadness.
Lord, my emotions vary so much. I want to show Your joy each and every day. Still, circumstances bring me down and people see me in sadness. Remind me not to feel guilty in those times. Remind me that You are still working and that You continue to love me even in the worst times.