Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” (Nehemiah 2:17ESV)
The image for today’s devotion is a photo of the devastation Hurricane Sandy visited upon the northeast . Looking at it reminds me of Nehemiah’s story. Here is a brief recap of it: Nehemiah was wracked in grief when he learned of the destruction of Jerusalem, his homeland. By God’s hand, Nehemiah then secured funding from King Artaxerxes to rebuild the city. Today’s verse recounts how decimated Jerusalem was. Its gates were destroyed, its wall toppled, and its buildings scattered in rubble.
Two weeks later, there are still millions of people suffering from the destructive force of Sandy. Here, then, are two components of a Christian response to disaster:
- It is an excellent opportunity for Christians to meet physical needs in our hurting communities;
- We should remember that the physical destruction we see mirrors the spiritual destruction suffered by our cities every day.
When disaster comes we should meet the needs of those affected. But more than this, we must always bear in mind the spiritual ruin we are surrounded by. Like Nehemiah, this should break our hearts to the point of action. Our care and concern should motivate us to act as Nehemiah did. He prayed, prepared, and followed through. So should we.
How are you meeting the needs, physical and spiritual, of your community?