The most important change is not what happens to us, but what happens in us.
Nehemiah had one great project in the fifth-century BCE: to get the ruined walls of Jerusalem rebuilt. And against great opposition and internal strive and intrigue he gets the walls rebuilt. In only 52 days. This story is considered one of the greatest case studies of leadership and change in any literature.
The walls are rebuilt, so the story is over, right?
Nope. There’s a second great project.
Rebuilt walls require rebuilt lives.
Lesson: fixing the walls doesn’t automatically fix the people. We may change some desperate circumstance in our life, but unless we change as well, the real progress will be incomplete.
And, it is easy to blame the bad circumstance for whatever is going wrong. And there can be some really bad circumstances. At work, in marriage, health, finances. I just read about a young adult who was in prison for some major charges. A church’s small group befriended his devastated parents and over time, both the parents and the young adult allowed God to rebuild their lives. For the church, it was the first time someone had become a member while in prison, meaning that they could not attend the service where new members were presented. So, they projected a picture of him instead. Those at church that day had never seen a happier looking person in an orange jump-suit. He had been changed.
Nehemiah 7-10, especially 8,9 describe the process of rebuilding people. It’s an amazing account of renewal, of rediscovery. And it has everything to do with their experience with God.
They reconnect with God in a powerful way.
Can’t wait to look at how this happens.