(puffy eyes from happy tears, feeling the joy after 25 years of God's faithfulness!)
Sometimes life just happens, and you might wake up one morning to wonder how you got so far from home. You might wonder how everything you'd strived for seemed swept away in a wave, or simply slipped away so slowly you didn't realize it for too long. But now that you've taken account of your life, you might find yourself shocked to find you've been taken into captivity--into EXILE.
Some people call that MID-LIFE CRISIS. The look back is about as long as the journey forward toward the thing you've lost, yet treasured most. You see the walls have crumbled. Your once beautiful city is in decay and ruin. Shambles abound at every turn, but to get back to the love you once had, the faith you once knew, seems monumental.
Nehemiah says: Just START. Start with rebuilding your walls.
Many scoffed and there were even military attacks on those rebuilding the walls. In our culture there are plenty who join in tearing down walls that protect the fortress of your faith, the holiness of your love, and your marriage. But, look around you, there are bound to be those who are ready and willing to lend you a hand, to rebuild the walls that protect. Nehemiah chapter 3 reminds us of men who did just so. It lists these men by name, and after each name comes the name of the man "beside him" and "next to him" and "after him" who joined in the task.
All the while, they were ridiculed.
Nevertheless, stand up. Put your hand to the task.
Bend your knees in prayer. And begin. Workers will come along aside you.
Chapter 4: 14 says "When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people: 'Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.'" In one hand they carried their work load, in the other their weapon as they rebuilt the walls together.
And in this way, they encouraged, worked, guarded, and protected the Holy City. And where they were weak, they rallied and cried, "Our God will fight for us." (Chapter 4: 20).
So, if you woke up one day mid way through life, through marriage, or career--and found yourself in exile--come home and rebuild your walls.
God will fight for you. Others will come along beside you.