God of the Practical
A religious man’s faith was tested when a great flood swept through his town. A friend rowed a boat to the man’s house offering to carry him to safety: “No thanks, I’m trusting in God. He will rescue me.” When the rising water forced him to the roof, a helicopter appeared overhead with a rope ladder extended, but he waved them off: “I’m trusting in God,” he yelled. “He will save me.” The man ultimately lost his life in the flood, and he complained to God, “Why didn’t you save me? I trusted you!” God’s reply was telling: “I tried to rescue you. I sent a man in a boat, and soldiers in a helicopter, but you refused to be saved!”
Where do we find the balance between trusting in God and implementing practical, expedient, and reasonable solutions? God himself lived on earth as a man for 33 years—he knows what it takes to live and survive. When we are afraid, for instance, what should we do? Trust alone? Trust and obey? Trust, obey, and act? Every situation is different, but if there is a starting point, it is trust. That’s the lesson Nehemiah taught his fearful followers.
While rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah and the Israelites worked under the threat of impending attack and annihilation by their enemies. Nehemiah told them to do two things to handle their fear: Trust (“Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome”) and fight for your families—in that order. This combination was seen in everything the people did: First, they trusted God; then, half worked, half stood guard; those who worked carried stones in one hand and a sword in the other; those needing two hands strapped their swords by their sides (Neh. 4:16-18). If we do not serve a great and awesome God, then our actions are in vain. But since our God is great and awesome, our actions, when led by him, accomplish his purposes.
Are you afraid? Whatever else you do—talk to a friend, read your Bible, lock your doors, take other precautions—first, trust in your great and awesome God. He is always the beginning of the end of fear.
God’s Promise to You: “Trust in me and I will fight fear for you.”