So when I read Even though they were afraid. . .they went ahead anyway. (Ezra 3:3)
As I read the account of those handful of refugees, and how they responded in difficult circumstances, my heart was stirred. God had brought them back to their land, a miracle in itself; but it took a second miracle--of faith, determination, and hard work--to see their beloved city and Temple rebuilt.
Here's a few principles I saw in action, which I can apply to whatever problems I am having, or when I am seeking God's will for my future. things I saw:
- Faith is acting in the face of doubt and fear.
Even though they were afraid. . .they went ahead anyway (Ezra 3:3)
- Get your priorities right. Don't put off serving God until you get your life together.
They began offering Whole-Burnt-Offerings to God from the very first day. . .even though The Temple of God's foundation had not yet been laid. (Ezra 3:6)
- Grief and joy exist side by side; we may grieve the mistakes we made in the past and wonder "what if?" but past mistakes shouldn't keep us from doing what we can today.
People couldn't distinguish the shouting from the weeping. (Era 3:13)
- When we get serious about God's work, we will face opposition.
In June, I turned in a manuscript to my editor. I have a new book coming out. I'm working on new book proposals, and I'm teaching a course on brainstorming to ACFW (american Christian Fiction Writers.) After I battled pain, bedrest, and depression for several days, I realized, Of course! This almost always happens when I'm doing something new for God, like teaching ACFW.
Rehum and Shim shai . . . went to the Jews in Jerusalem and made them quit work. (Ezra 4:23)
- When we are uncertain of God's will, we can proceed even without a definite yes or no.
- Corollary: We are blessed when He puts a spiritual mentor working by your side.
This happened after they sent a letter to Xerxes the king, but before they heard back.
Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel and Jeshua son of Jozadak started again, rebuilding the Temple of God in Jerusalem. The prophets of God were right there helping them. (Ezra 6:1-2)
- God will protect His work, so that the door remains open as long as He wills.
God had his eye on the leader of the Jews, and the work wasn't stopped until a report could reach Darius and an official reply be returned. (Ezra 6:5)
The bottom line is: Once God tells us to do something--get started! And don't stop until He turns on the stop light.
Don't worry about the doubts and roadblocks--they're to be expected.