Watching commercials over Christmas provides insight to our culture. One touts a certain toy and the next displays needy children from other parts of the world. Yearly demands on our pocket books have calloused our hearts to the dirty faces and skeletal frames paraded before us. We have been desensitized.
Nehemiah was in the service of a King. He was a foreigner. His people had been displaced and were only being returned home in recent history. Nehemiah happened to visit with some countrymen and he wanted to hear all the news of home. As he listened, stories of great distress, of broken down walls and burned gates caused an eruption in his spirit. A city once full of the glory of God, lay in ruin. He sat down and wept. It didn’t end there either. He tells us in the book by his name, that he mourned and fasted for many days. The troubling news broke his heart.
Reading of Nehemiah’s response challenges me. Has my heart been broken? What was my response to it? Have I ever allowed a response to difficult news cause weeping and mourning before God? Does the awareness of the breakdown in our society, or what it has done to our schools, our families, our children, affect me?
A broken heart is not comfortable. We don’t want to shed tears let alone mourn. We want sunshine and flowers. Even flowers need the tears of heaven in order to break through the ground.
The Psalmist understood and speaks to us in Psalm 126: 5.6
“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping bearing seed for sowing shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.”
I like that! Armed with this knowledge from God’s word, I can even ask for one as I work in His vineyard.