The Art of Perseverance: Nehemiah 2:1-3 (Be Real With Someone Who Can Help)
I wonder if many of us are confused at what perseverance looks like.
Especially in our churches, we tend to wear masks that do not accurately depict what’s going on inside. We may think to ourselves, “I just gotta put on a smile and plow through this tough time.”
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, making myself smile changes things.
But when the smile is as fake as a $3 bill, I’m not persevering. I’m sinking.
A Key Ingredient to Perseverance
We’re looking at Nehemiah as one who persevered through extraordinary difficulties. We’ve seen in the last post that the first thing he did was to mourn about the conflict properly by taking it to God in prayer.
Then Nehemiah took action: (2:1-3)
In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
Here’s Nehemiah, the cupbearer to the King. That means if the wine is poisoned, he dies while the King lives.
Not the kind of job I’d like to have. Must’ve been stressful. Slightly.
The King realized that Nehemiah wasn’t sick from the wine, but his face showed sorrow and pain.
So here’s this guy, Nehemiah, who faces the possibility of being poisoned each day. We can safely say he’s not a weakling.
But he doesn’t shy away from showing the sorrow that’s in his heart. He doesn’t wear a mask. And his countenance surprises the King.
He doesn’t pull himself up by his bootstraps and pretend everything is OK.
He’s not fake. He’s readily authentic.
And this doesn’t mean he’s weak. A key ingredient to perseverance is someone who can help.
What does perseverance look like? For starters, it’s authentic. It’s real. It doesn’t hide emotions. It faces reality, no matter how ugly it is.
In order to properly endure hardship, one must understand the true nature of the hardship. And one cannot come to that understanding if he/she pretends things are just fine.
One who perseveres doesn’t hide behind fake masks.
One who perseveres allows a few others to see what’s going on. The right others–not everyone, but a few who can do something to help.
He’s real. But not without hope, because he has his trust in God. Like Nehemiah had.
What About You?
In order to persevere, be real with a few others who can help. Quit trying to be strong in a certain area when you’re really tired. Give someone the blessing of lifting you up. Give someone the chance to encourage you–to help you.
When you’ve asked the Lord for help, be prepared to receive it.
Leave a Comment!
Do you ever wear a mask to hide your sorrows behind? Does it help you persevere through them? What would you rather do…really? Go ahead and leave a comment below. Be real.