God Knows What to Do with Your Rubble
Nehemiah 2:11-18 I came to Jerusalem and was there three days….And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire…. and so returned….Then I said to them, “You see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come and let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer be a reproach”…. So they said, “Let us rise up and build.” Then they set their hands to this good work.
Nehemiah’s story of returning to Jerusalem and building up the walls of the city is full of reality checks and encouragements. He faced opposition from outside enemies and even his own people. Yet he is consistently patient and prayerful, and his mission was crowned with success.
Hidden within his story is a beautiful picture of how God works with our lives. Nehemiah 2 tells us how he went to survey the damage that had been done. Scripture then tells us after assessing the damage that he repaired, restored and rebuilt. Note that he didn’t get the equivalent of yesterday’s bulldozer to remove everything. He repaired, restored and rebuilt, clearly using parts of the wall and other structures that were already there.
When we come to Christ, God begins to do the same thing. God “surveys” the damage the enemy has done (and that we, to be honest, have contributed to by our sin) in the sense of being completely wise and understanding about the mess He has to deal with. His plan is then based on what is reusable and what needs complete replacement.
Like the gates and walls of Jerusalem, not everything needs to go. Some pieces need to be strengthened, some need to be cleaned and recut for proper fitting, and other things need to be used in an entirely different way.
What kind of rubble did you have when you came to Christ? Or what kind of rubble remains? Broken marriages or other relationships, abortion, disappointment, abuse, loss? God knows your rubble, and He knows exactly how to sift through it all and use parts of that rubble to build you up. Nehemiah knew that Jerusalem might have looked bad, but he didn’t survey the damage to either moan about it or criticize it. He was assessing how to rebuild. That’s the heart of God.
God can take anything we’ve done or that’s been done to us and use it in His rebuilding program for us. It’s not up to us to tell Him what to do or how to do it. We don’t know what’s junk and what can be used to build a new wall or gate. He is the Great Redeemer and Transformer, the King of Remanufacturing (“A process where a particular product is taken apart, cleaned, repaired, and then reassembled to be used again.”).
If God created us, doesn’t He have the wisdom and power to know how to re-create and rebuild us? He takes our sin and washes it away. He takes our sorrow, defeats and disappointments and uses it in our rebuilding process. Nothing—nothing—is wasted once God gets His hands on it!
Prayer: God, I have a lot of rubble in my life. Please take away what is hurtful to me and others. But please transform and redeem the rest. Thank You that You know exactly how to rebuild, restore and repair.