Distractions - Part II
October 18, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, "Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono." But they thought to do me harm. So I sent messengers to them, saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner. - Nehemiah 6:1-4.
In the Mexican state of Chiapas, four people were killed over a dispute about repair of a pothole. Violence is reported to be common in some of the more remote areas of Mexico. Two families were involved in the argument. One family closed off the street to repair a pothole that had resulted from heavy rains, however, there was another family that owned a transport company and they needed to drive a truck through the street. An argument began with insults, physical violence, and finally weapons were used in the fight including an AR-15. The pothole has now been repaired but not until the destruction of four lives, which can never be repaired. As the apostle Paul tells us violence was not the best solution to the problem, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21)."
Not only are there daily duties, obligations, emergencies, and unexpected obstacles that will be encountered in our lives; in addition, there are at times people who will try to derail you from your devotion to the Lord. It may be tempting to use inappropriate means of response and this must be avoided. When possible use such situations as an opportunity to share how important your faith is to you and the difference it makes in your life. However, you must always be aware the possibility that the distraction is not a distraction but an opportunity for service or witness. Always be aware to the movement of the Holy Spirit in those situations. Listen for His voice.
Nehemiah continually kept the main thing the main thing. He had come to build a wall around Jerusalem and he was going to build a wall. Nehemiah faced threats and subversion but he continued on, and he encouraged the people to continue on.
You too will face outside interference in your devotion to the Lord. Sometimes, it may be just as difficult to deal with - as friends, your husband, your wife, or children, will have something better for you to be doing than serving the Lord or spending time with Him. You too, in the face of such opposition, such interference, and such distractions must be steadfast as was Nehemiah. As Nehemiah responded to those trying to distract Him - you should respond as well. Nehemiah told them, "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?"