Finding the Courage To Rebuild

THE devastation following from disasters can leave the feeling that rebuilding could be an impossible task. But rebuild we must. And we do so confidently when we look wholeheartedly to God's presence and power. God's help is ever at hand, and we can turn to Him and benefit from His help.

Our earthly constructions--homes, businesses, roads, and the like--are useful expressions of the intelligence and vision we reflect from God. If we lose sight of the fundamental fact that God creates man and cares for him completely, under any circumstance, then troubles with our buildings, our communities, our infrastructure, may seem insurmountable. But keeping firmly in our thought and our hearts the fact that God, the creator, loves His creation, man, gives us dominion over any trouble or difficulty.

To be done properly, every step of a rebuilding task should be rooted in a humble listening for God's wisdom and guidance. Nothing can substitute for firmly trusting the wisdom and care of God from beginning to end.

The Biblical character Nehemiah showed how trusting God's guidance puts rebuilding on a sure foundation. When Nehemiah learned that his home city of Jerusalem lay in a disastrous state of disrepair he was very unhappy. But instead of just feeling bad, the book of Nehemiah in the Bible makes clear, he ``prayed to the God of heaven'' for guidance (2:4).

Step by step Nehemiah went forward with the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He secured permission from the king he served to make the journey; he surveyed the task at hand; he convinced his countrymen of the imperative nature of the work; he organized the job and provided for its protection; he met and effectively countered the derision and anger of Jerusalem's enemies. At every turn, Nehemiah prayed, ``Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands'' (6:9).

After the rebuilding, Nehemiah's final task was to encourage and strengthen the people's reliance on God as shown in their obedience to God's law. The courage and resolve to rebuild come from our trust in God's power. When we recognize that it is the nature of God's being to originate all the real qualities that find free and universal expression in His beloved creation, man, we have the power of unlimited Spirit undergirding our rebuilding efforts. The needed courage, then, is not something we have to muster ourselves but something we can express naturally because of what we know of God.

In Revelation the Bible refers to Christ Jesus as ``the Lion of the tribe of Juda'' (5:5). The Founder of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy, links the symbol of a lion with courage. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she says, ``Moral courage is `the lion of the tribe of Juda,' the king of the mental realm.'' And a bit further on in that same paragraph she points to the qualities of thought that enable us to accomplish what is needed. ``In the figurative transmission from the divine thought to the human,'' she writes, ``diligence, promptness, and perseverance are likened to `the cattle upon a thousand hills.' They carry the baggage of stern resolve, and keep pace with highest purpose'' (p. 514).

Though we must make the effort to express it, moral courage is God's gift to us rather than a personal, human trait. God and all that He creates are permanent because they are wholly spiritual. And nothing that is spiritual can be destroyed or lack what is needed for its expression. On this basis, rebuilding can be a joyful task with unlimited possibilities. After the waters recede and the winds die down, after fires are extinguished and the earth stops shaking, God's love is so strong, so limitless, that He can make a way for us to rebuild. And when we trust His love, we can build something even better, even more beautiful than was there before the disaster. In the end, it is as the man of God's making that we find the courage to rebuild.

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