Fast Devotional #15 – Now Strengthen My Hands
By Matt Destry – Communications Pastor
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”
We’ve all been there. Those times in life where we are overwhelmed with disappointment. A job setback, a rough relationship, or maybe simply some bad news. It can be hard to see past it, and it can be especially hard to maintain a sense of joy and vision in the midst of it.
Trial and opposition may take different forms in our lives, but there is one thing that remains in it’s wake: discouragement. Disappointment can lead to discouragement so quickly that before we know it, we’ve already given up on our original intention, or just moved the goalposts to a more ‘achievable’ level. We lose heart. Nehemiah faced his share of opposition, but also disappointment. The attacks from outside and the bickering from within his own camp would have led him to question his calling, and question the people he was fighting for. The conditions were so threatening and his sense of safety so tenuous that it must’ve been hard to remain focused.
We read in Nehemiah 6 that the attacks from Nehemiah’s enemies were designed to frighten him, in the hope that his ‘hands will get too weak for the work’ – which is a Hebrew turn-of-phrase meaning that he would simply become too discouraged to continue. Sanballat and Co. had plotted their attacks in order to discourage Nehemiah to the point of stalling. Notice two things: First, Nehemiah prays. This is the first port of call for those feeling discouraged. Go to God. Bring the discouragement before Him. He can handle it. Second, receive encouragement from the Lord. Nehemiah says it this way: “Now strengthen my hands.” It’s as though Nehemiah recognises the discouragement before him, and goes directly to the source of all vision and inspiration, to receives strength and comfort for what’s ahead.
Although we will at times face discouragement, God’s ear is open towards us, and His hands are open also to strengthen our hands. Allow Him to encourage you, to strengthen you, to speak to you, to literally put courage inside of you. You will need all the courage you can get in order to live out the call He has placed on your life, and discouragement will certainly come. Pray today with Nehemiah, “Now strengthen my hands.”
Almighty God, giver of life and strength, and supporter of the humble: I come to you today in weakness and fear, knowing you can give me strength and boldness. You know my disappointments, you know where I am discouraged. May these things not hinder me, but would you strengthen my hands to rise above these challenges and walk in the victory and joy you have won for me in Jesus. In His mighty Name, Amen.