Recovery and rebuilding: “Deepening the Faith” devotional 4

This installment is part of a regular devotional series, “Deepening the Faith,” written by Gordon faculty and staff for the enrichment of the wider College community.

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. It came to pass in the month of Chislev, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the citadel, that Hanani one of my brethren came with men from Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped, who had survived the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.” So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said: “I pray, Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God, You who keep Your covenant and mercy with those who love You and observe Your commandments, please let Your ear be attentive and Your eyes open, that You may hear the prayer of Your servant which I pray before You now, day and night, for the children of Israel Your servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel which we have sinned against You. Both my father’s house and I have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You, and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. Remember, I pray, the word that You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations; but if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’ Now these are Your servants and Your people, whom You have redeemed by Your great power, and by Your strong hand. O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.” —Nehemiah 1

Hop in your car and traverse the rural roads of New England; it won’t be long until you happen upon an old farmhouse with an attached barn painfully sagging under the weight of time and neglect. Charming at first. Peer more closely and you’ll see that the hue of paint has long weathered away and succumbed to the natural gray of deteriorating wood clapboards. Shards of glass now occupy gaping window frames. Vegetation challenges the perimeters, and the roof provides scant shelter. Less charming. The last hope faded long ago. It makes you wonder: When was it abandoned? Who was the last to leave, hopeless?

There was a time when recovery was possible. A moment for resuscitation. Nehemiah was God’s person for one such moment. He heard of the condition of the people and the city of Jerusalem and it broke his heart. Jerusalem’s walls, the security of the city, the peace of the place, the pride of the people had crumbled. God burdened Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild. The rest is history.

Whether a community, an organization or an individual, rebuilding is a relentless challenge in this broken world. God is an agent of recovery; we are called to join him in rebuilding!

Mark had the inside track on a promising career. Despite his youth and inexperience, he had landed the internship that would destin him to a life of impact and fame. He blew it. Sadly, when the going got tough, the days long, the competition fierce, he couldn’t cope; he walked away. Devastated. Broken. Disgraced. God lifted him from the muck to recovery.

Joseph was gifted, incredibly successful, trustworthy, loyal and hardworking. Yet he wound up in prison as the innocent victim of home-office intrigue, desire, envy and politics. God lifted him from the muck to recovery.

Our God; the great I Am; Yahweh; the everlasting, sovereign God; Creator and sustainer of the universe is a God of recovery and rebuilding.

While we may not want to admit it and we may go through great effort to hide it, we are like that aged farmhouse. We need the discipline of rebuilding from the ravages of our time on Earth. Every person in this broken world has experienced brokenness whether it is the painful loss of a loved one, the betrayal of a close friend, broken relationships, failures, desperate financial pressure, gossip, backbiting, slander, loneliness, illness, dashed dreams . . . on and on. As time passes in life, pain may accumulate and devastate. The fallout surrounds us: depression, escapism, envy, broken families, broken friendships, bitterness, anger and helplessness.

But our God is a God of recovery and rebuilding. He will lift us from the muck. There are no magic formulas. No simple solutions. Nothing about the required maintenance is easy. God wants us to walk, dependent on him.

Nehemiah led the miraculous rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. In the process he left behind a playbook for rebuilding and recovery. Make rebuilding a habit. Refuse to just pick up a few pieces, patch the hurts and let time deaden the pain. Intentionally, thoughtfully, purposefully repair damage with the power of God!

Pray: Lord, help me to be aware of brokenness in and around me, empower me to seek restoration for myself and those around me, direct me and embolden me to rebuild. Strengthen me to face and overcome opposition.

Gordon Hall
Professor in the Practice of Finance
Gordon Hall ’81 serves as chairman of the board of Archrock, Inc. (NYSE:AROC), the leading natural gas compression services company in the U.S., and as the lead independent director of Noble Corporation plc (NYSE:NE), a leading global provider of offshore drilling services headquartered in the United Kingdom. He has been involved in numerous nonprofit endeavors including economic, education and community development programs in the Dominican Republic, South Africa and Mexico. He has served on the boards of Gordon College and Logos Preparatory Academy. He has been a frequent speaker for Cru’s business outreach ministry in Texas, Germany and Mexico. Gordon led a weekly Bible study for businessmen from 2010 through 2016 in Houston and disciples and coaches executives.