Do you ever have one of those weeks where life seems to come at you from all sides? This week has been one of those weeks where it just seems to have been one thing after another in our household. We've had to deal with leaks, electrical problems, more than one mystery health problem, expensive car repairs and other tricky situations without an obvious solution. Yet curiously, in amongst it all there has been great joy and hope. We have found space to laugh and have fun together and, despite the fact that I am a worrier and some someone who massively over thinks everything, I have been pretty calm and free from anxiety and stress.
I think there have been a couple of reasons for this massive difference, firstly having the confidence that I am not alone in this. Having the support of others and knowing that we are working together makes a huge amount of difference. Suddenly the impossible feels possible when there is more than one of us working on the solution together. Secondly, it is the kindness of God that at times, when peace seems impossible, he gives us an inner peace that passes all understanding. The circumstances often don't miraculously change but sometimes we experience a peace in the middle of the storms of life that can only come from God and makes it possible for us to face anything.
We see some of these things in Nehemiah's story that we looked at on Sunday and are continuing to look at for the next two weeks. Nehemiah was in distress after hearing about the ruined state of city of Jerusalem. I suspect he felt pretty helpless as he heard the report and was miles away with no clear way to change the circumstances and yet through his prayers God gave him the confidence to approach the king of the country he was living in to ask for help. In unexpected and miraculous circumstances the king not only allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem but also gave him the resources he needed as well. We hinted at the next part of the story last week in our prayer stations but the other key thing with the story is that Nehemiah was not alone. All the people were with Nehemiah and worked together to rebuild Jerusalem. It is an incredible story of the combination of God at work and the people working together.
It is no coincidence that we are looking at the story of Nehemiah as we embark on our own refurb project. Over the next few weeks and months we are asking the whole church (and our friends and supporters) to pray with us and for us as we seek God but also to consider how each of us might help practically with skills, fundraising and by giving money. It maybe that we can only contribute a very small amount but by working together we make a big difference.