In the past year, there have been several tornadoes and storms that have wreaked havoc throughout the United States. Whenever one of these deadly storms settles in, destruction follows leaving nothing but ruin and rubble. After the storm concludes its dashing of hopes, the clean-up efforts shortly follow. But what happens in between the devastation and the recovery process?
Those who have seen their homes and communities destroyed can look around and be utterly devastated and rightly so. Everything that they had of earthly value has been destroyed. All of their years of hard work, building, and maintaining homes ended in destruction and sits in rubble. Frustration and a lack of hope can then set in.
In Nehemiah 4:10-14, the people of Israel faced a similar situation. Their homes had not been destroyed by deadly storms. Rather, their homes and city had been destroyed by the Babylonians before being taken into captivity. After being in exile, they finally return to see all the damage that had been done to their homes and the wall to their city. Obvious frustration was there but the clean-up process began anyway. In the middle of rebuilding the city wall, they were faced with opposition and discouragement. It soon became clear that it was hard for them to see past all the rubble. The fact that there was so much work to be done and so little to work with was beginning to wear them down. But, in the face of the opposing Sanballat and Tobiah, Nehemiah encouraged the people to work through the rubble and continue the “clean-up.” He also encouraged them to shift their focus away from the rubble and upon God. “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes,” (Neh. 4:14b).
Many times, we look out at our situations in our marriage and all we see is rubble. We feel like a tornado has just come in and ripped everything apart and it’s all sitting in brokenness on the ground. We are led to believe that they are damaged so badly that there is no conceivable way of restoration. We’ve both hurt each other and feel hurt by the other and we say things like “we’ve just grown apart” and just know that the end is in sight. There is rubble all around and we think there is nothing to build upon or with. But there is something there to work with. Even though it may be rubble and take a great deal of hard work, there is still something to work with. The “clean-up” process is worth it but tough. We cannot do it alone. Just as Nehemiah refocused the people’s glance from the rubble to the greatness of God, we need to recast our vision. NO, we cannot work through the rubble on our own. We need the mighty hand of God at work. But it can be done. “Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
Just because a storm has blown in and left things a mess in your marriage doesn’t mean that it has to stay in the rubble. By the grace of God and your disciplined work, it can be rebuilt. Let’s start the clean-up efforts!