Nehemiah is a great book, but I've never spent much time studying it. Recently, though, I spent a little more time with Nehemiah and was surprised to find that we have something in common, and chances are so do you.
Nehemiah chapter one starts with an ordinary guy, a cup bearer, in tears. His tears come after receiving word of the oppression of the remnant in Jerusalem, and learning that the city is in ruins. In the next chapter he is thrust into leadership as he embarks on one of the greatest reconstructions in recorded history. It struck me that so many leaders, so many ministries, and so many visions start out over a puddle of tears.
This not only applies to the people we consider leaders and visionaries, it applies to anyone becoming involved in ministry in some way. When our heart breaks over the things that break God’s heart we find ourselves being swept up in His work. Moses was overwhelmed with the oppression of his people and so was God. David was infuriated by the giant braggart insulting his God and so was God. Nehemiah was heartbroken over the destruction of the city of God and so was God. When our heartache and frustration are aligned with God’s heartache and God’s frustration, that’s when vision comes and we are thrust into ministry.
A number of years ago a couple of ordinary guys had their hearts broken 100,000 times over on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It turned out that God’s heart was breaking as well. Soon those ordinary guys found themselves thrust into leadership and caught up in a vision to restore the lives of the children of the street. The Forsaken Children and Onesimus Children Development Association were born of broken hearts.
A few years later my heart was broken as well. I was suddenly swept up into a vision and compelled to act. Now I find myself in a place where I never thought I would be, and becoming something that I never thought I could be.
My heart still breaks every day. It breaks for Ruth. She is so sweet, but so poor. It breaks for Fikadu, whose hands are large and strong and legs are deformed from carrying heavy loads as a young street boy. It breaks for so many like Ephrem, who have been taken far from their loving families and forced to work to make others rich. I pray that my heart never stops breaking until every last child is saved and every family restored.
What does your heart break for today? Is it to see the true potential of your church reached? Is it the culture of materialism and self-centeredness that is consuming our youth? Is it the poor? Is it racial division and prejudice in our churches? Is it the oppressed, the orphan, the lost? Let the pain come, let the tears flow, but get ready. Chances are God’s heart is breaking as well.