I started studying the book of Nehemiah a few days ago. I am sure I have read it before, but I do not remember any of it. So this time I am trying to make sure I take notes and understand to the best of my ability what it is all about. Nehemiah was a cup-bearer for the king he served at that time. When Nehemiah heard that Jerusalem was standing in ruins he was very upset because it is the city of his fathers. He prayed and felt led to go help rebuild the city. He asked the king he served if he could get a pass to go help build, and while he was asking the king he was also praying (which I think is pretty important here. If he hadn’t been praying during all this maybe the king would’ve denied him). The king granted him permission and even gave him letters to use to obtain building materials. When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he went out by night to secretly assess the damage. He then began building along with many, many other people. Chapter 3 tells all the people who “repaired” each part of the wall and city. It says repaired over and over again, and I began thinking about the word repair and how it applies to my spiritual life. Sometimes I do, say, or think things that are sinful (more like everyday most of the time) and this puts up a wall between me and God. This wall is not a good one like the one Nehemiah worked to repair. This wall needs to be torn down, and I am the only one who can do that. God is always in the same place. If there is a distance between us, then it is I who moved away from him, not the other way around. So, when I feel that wall or distance between us, I must repair our relationship by begging for God’s forgiveness. I do not have to do this in a public way. I can “go out by night and assess the damage.” In other words, I can go privately and pray. I do not need any witnesses to this prayer because God and I are the only two who need to know the details. If I pray and am truly sorry for my sins, then the wall comes tumbling down and I can move to be closer to God. Closer to God is so much safer, so much happier, so much stronger than being far away.
So, the first step in repairing my relationship with God is realizing I have sinned. The second is praying and repenting. The third is sitting and basking in the glow of his love and protection. How easy is that!?!