Wednesday, February 23, 2005

the first step

Today Donna at The Master’s Artist writes about lessons in perseverance to be learned from by writers from the book of Nehemiah. She says, in part...

Before Nehemiah began his mission to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, he prayed and fasted. But he didn't stop there. He made a plan. But he didn't stop there. He followed through on that plan. He put not only feet, but hands, brain, and hard work to his prayers.

I’ve been reading Nehemiah in my personal devotions since Sunday and have had some of the same thoughts. I’ve wondered, though, whether the secret of Nehemiah’s success didn’t come in the first step.

During those days Nehemiah spent in fasting, weeping and prayer, it seems something happened between God and him. His passion to see the walls of Jerusalem rebuilt led to the sense that God was fingering him for the assignment and in some way making him personally responsible and accountable. That personal call led him to jeopardize his well-being as he requested of his boss Artaxerxes, not only for time away from his job as a cup-bearer, but for help with the project in the form of protection and letters.

He would need that knowledge of divinely decreed vocation in the days ahead. For the rebuilding of the wall was riddled with setbacks, discouragements, naysayers, outright opposition. I believe it was in large measure the knowledge this was an assignment from God that kept him on-task.

I’m thinking the reason some of my writing projects fizzle may be that I have skipped that first step. If I’m beginning projects on my own without knowing this is an assignment from God, is it any wonder when the fire in my belly cools, when the project feels too big for me, when I compare my meager talents with the talents of others, or a myriad of similar obstacles loom, I give up?

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