A Sword and a Shovel
Have you ever had a difficult time seeing past the obstacles that are currently in front of you? Yeah, me too. There may be incredible opportunities on the other side of those obstacles, but its hard to see what “could be” through the pain of the “hear and now.” One of the things I have learned in my own personal life is to not attempt to look into the future when I am experiencing extreme fatigue or frustration. The reason for this is that our lens often takes the shape of our emotions. If things aren’t going well, everything in front of you feels harder…and vise versa.
There is a little book in the Old Testament about a man named Nehemiah who was able to look past the obstacles in front of him to see the bigger opportunity. Some could argue that Nehemiah was one of the best leaders that we get to read about in the Bible. Nehemiah’s obstacle was rebuilding the Jerusalem wall and his formula for success was, knowing when to work together…and knowing when to stop and fight together.
“Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.” Nehemiah 4:17-18
Do you know why we might struggle to see past our obstacles sometimes? Because we often look through a lens that says, “can I do this on my own?” In order for Nehemiah and the other Israelites to be successful they had to know when to work…and know when to fight. But the key to their success is that they did both together.
Let me ask you a couple rhetorical questions:
1. Are you inviting anyone into your battles to fight with you? If not, why? I think many people are afraid to ask for help because in doing so they have to expose the truth of their life… their current reality. Here me on this, we are all broken people in need of a savior and so your story is not as different as you may think. Remember, you can’t fight from where you pretend to be.
2. Who are you fighting for? Maybe you know someone right now that needs you to put down your shovel and pick up your sword and fight for them. Your spouse, your kid, a friend, or maybe a neighbor. I personally think one of the best ways you can express the perfect love of God is by stepping into someone else’s battle with them. Remember, this is exactly what Jesus did for us when he went to the cross for our sins.
What could be your action step moving forward? Maybe you need to do some work by inviting someone into your current reality and asking for help. God never intended for you to fight your battles alone! Remember, the best place the enemy can find you is in isolation.
But maybe your action step is learning when to put down your shovel and pick up your sword and fight for someone else. You may be surprised how little effort it takes on your behalf to be such a huge blessing to someone else.
You can’t fight for everyone, but you can fight for someone. Stay in the Fight!