When you set your hand at rebuilding something, especially relationships, there will be opposition. Forces working against you swing into life like a wrecking ball, obliterating everything in its way. Friendships are struck with a mighty force, sending bricks flying in all directions.
Rebuilding relationships is tough work. You have to be incredibly intentional and precise in rebuilding what was once destroyed. But if it’s God-designed, and you have set your hand to the bricks-and-mortar of relationship, then keep building. But don’t be fooled into thinking it will be easy. The enemy comes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) and above all hates when we set ourselves up for healing and repair. If God is setting you up to do a good work, then do the work well.
Nehemiah wasn’t an overly talented man; he was in service, a cup-bearer to be exact. But God had put something in his heart to do, a good work, and gave him the resources to carry it out. God told him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. They had been resting as rubble for decades and the time had come to rebuild.
So Nehemiah set his hand to work and encouraged others to join him.
“Let us rise up and build. Then they set their hands to this good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18b)
But then opposition came.
Opposition doesn’t arrive like a gold-gilded letter in the mail that reads, “We are going to oppose you, so get ready.” Nehemiah was just doing the work that God told him to do, yet people were angry at him for rebuilding. He had enough on his hands without more accusations being thrown at him. And there was so much rubble that it was a challenge to make any progress.
“There is so much rubble that we are not able to rebuild the wall.” (Nehemiah 4:10)
Nehemiah could have easily given up. He could’ve thrown up his hands in frustration and walked back to his job in Persia. But God had called him to this project. God chose Nehemiah to do this work that no one else could do. He put the wisdom and strategies in Nehemiah’s heart, along with compassion for the people, to get the job done.
So rather than giving up, Nehemiah pressed in.
Everyone returned to work on the wall, but instead of just building the wall, they worked and defended themselves at the same time. Sometimes when you’re rebuilding something worth fighting for, you have to be armed and ready.
“With one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon.” (Nehemiah 4:17)
While I was praying over a fractured relationship, the Lord directed me to write a letter of apology. I wrestled with my pride and assessed the pile of rubble that was left from our friendship. For days I wondered if it was even worth it. Did I really need all this? I reasoned that giving up would be easier, but the nudge of the Holy Spirit pressed me onward toward rebuilding. I wrote the letter.
It was no small thing to place that brick of forgiveness on the wall of my relationship. Forgiveness was a foundational part of the rebuilding process. Forgiving them and forgiving myself.
Bit by bit. Brick by brick. My wall of relationship was being reconstructed.
And it was different this time.
The walls were stronger. They were driven by love, compassion and mutual respect, instead of a hastily patched-up façade of friendship. The foundations were deep and strong and were well-fortified to handle a little opposition now and then. The main difference was that the walls of relationship were not built by my hands alone — they were built by the Lord.
What is God asking you to rebuild today?