How does one convert a problem into an opportunity? When a problem arises, it is noticed that there are two sets of people – one who see an opportunity in every problem and the other see a problem in every opportunity. As Christians, we must see an opportunity in every problem.
Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the king who also ruled over Jerusalem. The king’s palace was far away from Jerusalem. When some people came from Judah and Nehemiah heard from them about the survivors of the captivity living there in great distress and Jerusalem wall broken down and gates burned by fire, he was heartbroken. He saw there was a problem with Jerusalem. Nehemiah did 3 things: a) Visualized b) Agonized c) Organized
- a) We should not be under problems. We are not blind, but especially as Christians, we need to try and visualize the problems facing the church and society around us. God will put a burden into our hearts-some need among the children, or a problem with the youth, etc. Seek what God wants you to do.
Nehemiah was in a palace living among all luxury, having financial security and far away from the problems in Jerusalem. It is difficult to visualize when one is far away from the problem, but Nehemiah felt it in his heart.
- b) Nehemiah agonized over the problems in Jerusalem (Neh 1:4). It is not just enough to see the problem. Many times, we sit and discuss about it and do not pray. If we are not ready to pray about the problem it is better not to discuss.
Nehemiah first visualized the problem and then, prayed about it (Neh1:6). He prayed a prayer of 1) confession – of the sins committed by him and his people and those around him. 2) confidence(Neh 1:9) as he remembered God’s promises 3) commitment (Neh 1:11) – he prayed ‘please prosper your servant’ (“give me success”) implying that he committed himself to the cause. It is easy to tell somebody else to get to do it. But Nehemiah committed himself to go and solve the problems at Jerusalem. Don’t go around getting others to commit to solve a problem. If you have visualized a problem, you go and commit yourself to the cause.
- c) Nehemiah organized to solve the problems. He did not go about sporadically or doing things occasionally, but went about in an organized way. How did he do it? He first sought 1) permission from the king to go and rebuild the wall (Neh 2:5). First place the matter and seek God’s permission whether it is His plan or not. David had a burden to build the temple, but God said ‘no’. Thereafter, seek permission from the concerned authorities. 2) Nehemiah then, sought for protection (Neh 2:7)by asking the king for letters of authorization. Ask God for protection. Remind yourself of Matt 28:20 where Jesus says He will be with us until the end of the age. 3) Nehemiah thereafter, sought for provision (Neh 2:8)form the king. He first prayed to God and then asked the king. The king gave him the timber but it was God who answered his prayer for provisions. ”The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water He turns it wherever He wills” (Prov. 21:1).
God’s plan according to God’s will shall always have God’s provision