Today the reflection comes first. Read Nehemiah 2:12-18 in order to fully understand the strategy that Nehemiah employed, and then read on to understand how you can apply the same principles to your marriage stand.
Then I told them of the hand of my God which was upon me for good, and also the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, Let us rise up and build! So they strengthened their hands for the good work. Nehemiah 2:18
Nehemiah was a strategist. He knew that what he was doing was right, and he knew that with God on his side, nothing could stop him. But he was also acutely aware that just because nothing could stop him, it didn’t mean that many things couldn’t come against his plan and slow it down or hinder it. This is the example that we have in taking our stand to rebuild our marriages; to carefully plan and strategize, and be ever vigilant for things that sneak in to slow or stop progress altogether.
In chapter 2, Nehemiah mentions twice that he set out in secret, under the cover of night (vs. 12, 16). He made a concerted effort not to let anyone in on the plan except the people that absolutely HAD to know. Why is this so important? Nehemiah was protecting the seed of his plan. We must also be careful to protect the seeds of reconciliation, and tread lightly so that the enemy does not sneak in and snatch them from us. We live in a day and time that we seem to think that everything we do has to be blabbed and shared and tweeted to the world; but if we hope for a good outcome, the best way to protect an uncertain beginning is to shelter it from the negativity and scorn of the world. This is all part of strategic planning.
The next step in Nehemiah’s battle plan wasn’t to jump in and fight, but to inspect the damage (vs. 13-15). He wandered around the rubble of the city, inspecting the walls that had been destroyed, and the gates that had been destroyed by fire. He did these things in order to find the weak points in the wall, and understand the extent of the damage. We must also take stock of the damage that has been done in our marriages, looking carefully for the places that have been damaged, so that we can focus our energy on those places first. Remember to share these things with only a small, select number of people so we can protect ourselves from further damage.
Once Nehemiah had prayed, received provision from God, and gone alone to inspect the damage, he was ready to present the plan. Had he gone forward without the proper preparation, things may not have worked out the same. We must rely on thorough planning and strategy if we are to follow through on something that God puts on our hearts. Nehemiah trusted God’s timing, rather than jumping ahead and trying to force things to work his own way. When he met with the elders and leaders (vs. 17-18), he brought to them everything that God had put on his heart. He was ready with the full plan, the authority of the king who was supporting him, and was able to show how God had given him favor. Then, and only then, were the leaders and elders able to understand the full extent of his purpose; they got into agreement with him because they could see these things laid out clearly in his life.
In our lives, we have to take the time to pray it out. We must choose the safe people to share with, or keep the minute details to ourselves. We must take the time to fully and introspectively inspect the damage of the marriage wall. Last, we must move forward in God’s timing, armed with His provisions, and His plan. Begin praying for a strategy from Him for your marriage, and wait until you have everything ready to make a move.
Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that in the day of evil you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13