'From sorrow to joy'

Wednesday Reflection

26th August 2020

'Sadness of the heart'

'So he king said to me,

'Why is your face sad, since you are not sick?
This can only be the sadness of the heart.'

Then I was very much afraid.
   ... Nehemiah 2:2

In his position as the king's cup bearer,
Nehemiah went to serve king Artaxerxes, as normal.
But the king immediately realised that something was wrong,
instead of his usual cheerful countenance Nehemiah looked unhappy.
The king recognised that Nehemiah was not physically sick,
but was sick at heart.

Nehemiah was grieving for his people.
Israel was in captivity
and the survivors, that had escaped, were living in squalor
of the once beautiful, now ruined, Jerusalem.
For days Nehemiah sat down and wept, fasted and prayed;
he poured out his heart to God
confessing the sins of the Israelites
and pleading for a new beginning for the nation of Israel.

God answered Nehemiah's prayers.
He prompted the king to give permission for Nehemiah
to go to Jerusalem and help rebuild the city.
God used Artaxerxes, a non-believer,
as a channel through which he poured out His blessing
upon Nehemiah and God's people.

God can use anyone, anywhere.

The king not only gave permission for him to leave
but provided him with all he materials needed for rebuilding,
plus a letter of authorisation
so that he could travel there without hindrance.
In addition, the king sent along with Nehemiah an escort,
captains of the army and cavalry.
After a safe journey to Jerusalem the rebuilding could begin.

Is there a sadness of heart in your life right now?
Have you lost someone dear to you?
A breakdown in a relationship?

Your face and body reflect the grief you are feeling.
You may feel you are living in the ruins of your once beautiful life;
if so, just like Nehemiah,
pour your heart out to God;
just as he did for Nehemiah,
he will hear your prayers and respond.
Perhaps not at the time or in the way you expect,
but in his perfect time and way.

8 The Lord himself goes before you
   and will be with you;
   he will never leave you nor forsake you.
   Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
   ... Deuteronomy 31:8

God gave Nehemiah the opportunity to oversee the rebuilding
of the walls and burned down gates of Jerusalem
and he will help us to rebuild our lives,
bringing spiritual healing.
Never give up, keep praying,
ask God to supply the hope needed to make it through
whatever is going on in life.
God loves us and he promises to dry all our tears.
Jesus said,

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted ... Matthew 5:4

22 So with you: Now is your time of grief,
but I will see you again
and you will rejoice,
and no one will take away your joy.
   ... John 16:22

He is the one who provides the comfort we need,
to change our faces from sorrow to joy.