52 Days?!?

Nehemiah 6:14-7:4

So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah: and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah as his wife. Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to make me afraid.

Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many. And I said to them, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.” The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.

As the cleanup and cleanout processes continue to unfold in Cypress, this passage came up on our St. John staff devotions. We kidded our facilities & maintenance supervisor that he had 52 days to finish the job of putting the campus back together. I’m thinking we’ll need every single one of them. 

The parallels between Nehemiah’s work of rebuilding the Jerusalem walls and our efforts to clean up following the flooding here are remarkable: distractions, opposition (not from people, but from uncooperative weather), the fact that not only the church but people and families all around us were impacted, along with the dual efforts of workers, church staff doing their jobs, volunteers helping clean up at the church and in the community, together with the “you can’t be two places (much less three or four!) at one time” realities of life, all conspire to make the tasks ever more challenging. 

There has been plenty of praise for those in the trenches of the cleanup process. The folks from Cypress Chapel – headed up by Pastor Stephen DeMik, together with Steve Saunders, St. John’s Disaster Reponse Coordinator are helping put “boots on the ground” in these efforts. Ken McCully, our Director of Operations, and Richard Hurliman, our Facilities and Maintenance Director are putting in long hours and much effort in this task. 

All we need now is time and patience as we reclaim what was lost, damaged and destroyed. We look forward to worship tomorrow, remembering God’s faithfulness, goodness, grace, and salvation, calling on him in prayer, and hearing his word. We look forward to seeing how God will shape us through this whole ordeal.

I look forward to a return to some sense of normalcy, and seeing how God will use faithful and God-fearing folks to establish and sustain good order and peaceful life among us – however many days it takes.

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