By Karen Polich

Restoration is simply part of life and cannot be avoided. Much of our lives will be spent restoring someone or something. Pastor Michael Cook continued his sermon series Restore. Read Nehemiah 4 and listen to the podcast here.

Nehemiah came to Jerusalem on a mission, but his effort was not without challenges. There were those who did not want restoration. Restoring Jerusalem would jeopardize the authority of those who benefited from the rubble. The workers who were committed to restoring Jerusalem found that the situation was increasingly complicated. What did they do?

They prayed, then did all they could do, leaving the struggle to God. They persevered.

What can we learn from Nehemiah that speaks into our own lives? Pastor Cook explored 4 questions in the process of restoration.

  1. Who hurt you?

What are you going to do with the pain? The process can quickly become complicated. How we handle the hurt of betrayal, embarrassment or ridicule impacts restoration. You can hear “the sting” in Nehemiah’s prayer in Nehemiah 4: 4-5. He pours the hurt out to God.  We too often think about the revenge we would like instead of giving the pain over to God. Romans 12:19, Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. 

  1. Are you in the beginning, middle or end stage of restoration?

The beginning stage is new and exciting, there’s adrenaline but it carries you only so far. In the end, there’s a second wind that helps you push through. It’s the middle that can be most difficult. The middle stage is where you realize that it isn’t going to be easy. The rubble doesn’t increase, but it can sure feel like it has.

  1. Where are you in the greatest danger?

Are you trying to restore too much at once? Step back and ask yourself where the greatest danger is. Decide that you will restore that first before working on any other area.

  1. Who are you fighting for?

Nehemiah never asked anyone to fight for themselves, he asked them to fight for those around them. He understood that retreat would be difficult if the fight was for someone else. When you fight the battle for those beyond yourself, that perseverance will bring courage.

How are you handling restoration in your life today? Have you moved from the grief of your situation into the active choice of restoring what has been broken?

The choices you are making today are going to impact those around you now as well as in the future. The choices of today will build the legacy of generations to come.

Perseverance through restoration will bring blessings downstream.

Are you ready to ask God to join you in the restoration today?




Beginning Steps

By: Karen Polich

Last week Pastor Michael Cook looked at Nehemiah and his anguish. He was in mourning, fully in the “Kleenex phase”. Now, we watch Nehemiah moving into the “cup phase”. This is the defining moment. The grieving is over; he is leaving it behind. Read Nehemiah 2: 110. Listen to the Restore sermon series podcast here.

The idea of restoration suggests something is wrong. A significant loss has occurred. With it, we lose other things. We may lose our ability to trust others. We lose our next step, or we lose people.

What about in your life? What about my life? Are you and I moving forward towards restoration? If not, we risk getting stuck. We cannot rebuild anything when we can’t move forward. Nehemiah recognized this and made a courageous move in revealing his anguish to the king.

The concept of loss is deeply personal. How long should it take to be ready to move forward? Losing a loved one doesn’t invoke the same sense of loss as losing a job. Both are painful, but they are not the same. What a complex issue! Understand that in the complexity of this, there is no simple answer to how it will look when we experience loss and are ready for restoration. When we find ourselves at the extreme of either no grief, or stuck in grief, this should cause concern.

These four steps will help us as we move forward:

1. Embrace uncertainty. We can’t plan everything. If we aren’t willing to move forward despite the unknown, we will never move forward.
2. Acknowledge fear. It is difficult. We can acknowledge fear without allowing it to paralyze us. It is huge to advance and not regress in the fear. Your sadness and hurt will not rebuild anything.
3. Anticipate God’s favor. We often forget this lesson. Always anticipate God doing something amazing. Communicate this with your life, your heart and your actions. God has His majestic Hand on the situation.
4. Expect complications. We all have people like this in our lives (Nehemiah 2:10). Complications will try to derail everything you are doing.

Condensed into one word moving forward equates to: COURAGE.

Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Are you ready to take the beginning steps of restoration? Embrace courage and let God do something amazing.