No doubt we all want to make a difference. What can we learn from the experience of Nehemiah in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in terms of making a difference? And how is Nehemiah's experience in Jerusalem like our experience with children in Russia and Eastern Europe? Let me suggest several parallels. First, Israel's Babylonian captivity parallels the plight of families in the former Soviet Union. It lasted some 70 years, and the rule of Communism and atheism was about 70 years. Rebuilding the walls, to me, represents the establishment of new boundaries for physical and emotional security for children and their families.
Unity, cooperation, and a shared vision were the means for success for Nehemiah, and are for us. Nehemiah learned that much can be accomplished with a God-ordained call and a servant spirit. And for those of us with a heart for children in crisis, God's call and a servant spirit can spell significant work to meet the needs of street children and orphans. The Bible says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).
People often ask me, "What is God's will for my life?" But I stopped praying for God's will in this way years ago. Often people think God's will is a maze that must be run, but I have found that "the mind of a man plans his way and the Lord directs his steps" (Proverbs 16:9 ). This is a wonderful verse for me because I have no problem planning. Maybe we can do as Nehemiah did--build walls of security so that children in crisis can come to the point of true worship of the living Lord.
Ron Braund is cofounder and president of Mission Specialties, Atlanta, GA.
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© 2001 East-West Church and Ministry Report