Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.
They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. Nehemiah 2:17-18 NIV
The rebuilding of Jerusalem’s wall was Nehemiah’s crucible moment. The time when God placed a vision and mission on Nehemiah’s heart. When he chose to fly into the face of adversity and respond.
Nehemiah saw the need, he felt the burden of the disgraced and discouraged people of Jerusalem, and he did not flee from this calling from God. He fled right into meeting this seemingly insurmountable need of not only restoring the walls of Jerusalem, but also to restore the people’s worth, identity and culture.
These crucible moments and what leaders learn from going through them are something that God does to bring us closer to Him. These moments have us call Him to see us through the most difficult of circumstances. To put our trust and faith in Him.
All leaders eventually will face at least one crucible moment. A time when a leader is “tested to his or her limits and has to utilize their leadership skills to conquer adversity and emerge stronger and more committed than ever” (Bennis & Thomas in Geeks & Geezers).
That is what Nehemiah faced in accepting God’s call. He became convicted to meet the burden, he mapped out a plan, he organized the people, he acquired the resources, he surveyed the people and the land, and above all he continually prayed for God’s intervention. Nehemiah’s faithful obedience to God and his determined leadership allowed his people to successfully rebuild Jerusalem’s wall. And the wall was completed in fifty-two days despite constant opposition and threat.
Nehemiah did not expect to be called by God. He was the cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, an important and trustworthy position, yet a position under the threat of punishment and possible death each day.
Nor was Nehemiah qualified to complete such a monumental task to mobilize a group of people to rebuild the wall of a city. He was an “ordinary” person, a slave serving a foreign king. Yet he was called by God to complete an “extraordinary” mission.
These are precisely the circumstances when God intervenes and calls. When you least expect it. When you are unaware of it. When something begins to unravel in your life. Or when a heavy burden has been placed in front of you, behind you and beside you.
Times when you have to intervene and deal with a seriously ill child, a spouse who has a chronic illness, a depressed family member, a divided and broken community, or the loss of a job. Or a time when __________? (you fill in the blank).
And just like Nehemiah you will have a choice to make. Will you respond like Nehemiah or will you abscond and ignore God’s calling to take on the need He has called you to meet? Or will you decline and deal with the consequences of ignoring His call?
Your leadership will be defined by the choices you make when facing these crucible moments. The exemplary leaders, like Nehemiah, choose to confront them. Their character, competence and will are challenged. Yet, their faith, obedience and trust in God ultimately produces a stronger and more committed leader.
As God tested the faith and endurance of Nehemiah, He will test yours. So…
“when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing (James 1:1-3 NLT).
Five Minute Friday Prompt: fly