SETBACKS PUSH US FORWARD
19 Then I said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall.20 Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!” Nehemiah 4:19-20
As we look to rebuild or refocus our life's journey, there are always going to be setbacks. Situations where we run into the roadblocks of life that cause us to make a decision. Am I willing to push through and breakthrough this wall or am I going to retreat and find another direction to go? Both responses can both be positive or negative. If we choose to push forward, we may have an amazing breakthrough and find ourselves stronger than before. If we choose to push through and become overwhelmed, we can find ourselves in a place worse than when we began. The same is true for the other choice. If we take a step back and look at the problem in front of us, we may be able to truly find a better solution on a different path. On the other hand, we may turn from this problem and never get over it. The roadblock may continue to be a part of hindering our trust and growth for the rest of our lives until we choose to face it head on and overcome it. There are a lot of different scenarios that run through my mind over the years of how I made both of those choices when facing a setback and to be honest, I have experienced all four of those solutions based on my choice to either step into the situation or to step back, revise and rethink my net steps all together. Setbacks are both roadblocks and opportunities for growth in our lives that will continue to help determine who we are and how we grow.
Setbacks are a natural part of life. I really wish that I could find multiple people in the Bible who never faced a setback, but the opposite is true. If you look at many of the matriarchs and patriarchs of the faith, all of them faced some type of setback. They were tested by God and some were able to overcome and some failed miserably. There is not enough time in this blog to go through and evaluate all of the setbacks that the people and leaders of God
faced, but I want all us to realize that the setbacks were a part of their journey. I mean Adam and Eve lost eternity in the Garden of Eden, but God made them able to be fruitful and prosper. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and told to his father he was dead. Only to become the most powerful adviser to the king and saved God's people through the greatest famine the world had ever seen. David was anointed by God to be the next king as a young boy. He grew in stature and wisdom but had a major setback with Bathsheba that caused him to completely question his place in God's kingdom. Not to mention the disciples who were at the right of Jesus for three years and once Jesus was arrested and crucified, they fled to save their own lives leaving Jesus all alone. But through this setback, Jesus restored them and used them to be a part of the birth of the Church and transform the world. I could go on and on and on, but the one thing that we have to realize is that we are ALL going to face setbacks and adversity, but we must realize that God has a bigger plan if we will just step in and trust Him with our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Continuing with our Nehemiah story from the other day, we realize that Nehemiah left his amazing life of prominence and security to fulfill God's call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. It was not going to be an easy task. The same armies that had destroyed it before were still hovering around the territory. The same people who did not want the Jews to be there were still ready to do anything possible to make sure that they never would stand up again with any authority in the region. In fact, Nehemiah had to beg the king to write a letter on his behalf just to get him through the territories that he never would have had an opportunity to pass through. These were just the obvious setbacks in front of him. When Nehemiah arrived he saw the destruction and realized the cost that it would take to rebuild the walls and the man power that would be needed to restore Jerusalem. He had to make ad decision to either continue or step back and return home. Nehemiah was at the wall and had to make a decision on how he would move forward. With his faith in God, Nehemiah moved forward and faced adversity every step of the way, but he knew that he was called to finish what God had laid on his heart to start. Nehemiah stepped in and faced the challenges with the faith in a God that would not let him be defeated. In our scripture verses for today, we see the results of some of the setbacks he was facing. The people continued to warn him that armies were ready to attack and that this was a mistake, but Nehemiah continued to be faithful and pushed forward. He knew that the work would take a long time and would split the forces, but if the time came for them to fight, they would blow the horn and unite as one body to face whatever may come.
I use this story from the scriptures to remind you that we are not alone either. We have a calling to fulfill from God and we must realize that we are not in this fight alone. We may have walls to rebuild and other walls to tear down. We may be facing adversities that we truly believe that we cannot ever overcome, but that does not mean that we have to face them alone. We have been called to work together to face these situations and when the horn
sounds we come running to support each other through the hardest times. Setbacks are going to happen in life, and if you have never faced a setback, thank God. But we must all be willing to realize that these setbacks are tests to prepare us for the next journey that may lie ahead. We have to be ready to look at the roadblocks and make decisions on how best to navigate around it. Some times it may be the best solution to plow straight ahead. Other times we may just need to sit and wait. Still other times we may need to take a step back and plot another course realizing that this path is never going to lead us to where we need to be in God's plan. God does open and close doors. We just have to be willing to recognize how to discern which doors God is opening and which ones He is sealing shut. Once we are able to do that we can begin to fully live out our calling in a completely different way. Please know that you are not alone and that we are all in this together. We have to be willing to step into those moments and realize the importance of the setback as it pertains to the bigger picture of rebuilding for God's kingdom and not our own.