The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.Nehemiah 1:3b
Notice the description of Jerusalem. The people were in trouble and were feeling a great sense of disgrace and reproach. The walls of the city were broken down. The gates had been burned with fire and were no longer usable.
If we take Jerusalem as a symbol of our own lives, there are many of us who fit this description. You look back on your life, and you see there are places where the walls have been broken down. There is no longer any ability left to resist destructive attacks. You have fallen victim to sinful habits that you now find difficult to break. That is the kind of ruin that is described here.
Perhaps you have gone along with the ways of the world. You have fallen into practices that the Bible says are wrong, and you know they are wrong. But you have difficulty stopping them. Perhaps your drift began innocently. You did not realize you were forming a habit, but now you no longer can stop it. Your defenses are gone. The walls of your city are broken down, and perhaps your gates are also burned. Gates are ways in and out. They are the way by which other people get to know you as you really are. Perhaps your gates have been destroyed by wrong habits.
Perhaps you were abused as a child. This phenomenon seems to be surfacing frequently in our day. The shame and the scarring of it have kept you a recluse. Your gates are burned, and nobody has access to you. Perhaps you were a victim of divorce or rape or of some bitter experience, and you feel betrayed or sabotaged.
You want to run and hide. No one can reach you. You have been so badly burned, you are now touchy and inaccessible. There are parts of your life you cannot talk about. You do not want anyone to know. You have a sense of great personal distress and are feeling reproach and disgrace. You have been scarred emotionally. No one may know about it. To others you appear to be a success. They think you are doing fine, but inwardly you know you are not. As you examine the walls and the gates of your life, you find much of it in ruins. How do you handle that?
That is the great question many face. But that is why the Scriptures are given to us. The men and women of the past have been through these same difficulties, and they have told us how to handle them. This great book of Nehemiah is one of the most helpful pictures we have of how to recover from broken lives. The steps that Nehemiah took covers seven chapters of this book. They are specific steps, orderly--and very effective! Taken in order they will lead to a full recovery of usefulness.
Thank You, Father, that You reveal my own brokenness, not in order to condemn me, but to rebuild my life. I give to You all that is in ruins and ask that You rebuild me into the person You want me to be.
Are we ready and willing to allow God to expose our brokenness and lead us in paths of healing and usefulness?