The torrential summer rain finally subsided while the water slowly receded into our backyard drainpipe. The red mud left on the front sidewalk was an added bonus that I wasn’t worried about. After all, it just needed to dry and then be swept away. In just one hour, over three inches of rain had watered our patch of earth as well as the neighbor’s yard perched slightly uphill. The key word here is “uphill.”
Before the raindrops tapered off, my son went out to rescue some of his drenched lacrosse equipment left in the back of his truck. Because the truck bed had quickly transformed into a kiddie pool, he decided to move his truck to a more level place on the street where the water could drain out. That’s when he noticed that just inches from his truck lay the rubble of our yard’s brick retaining wall. We’ve experienced downpours like this before, but never have we experienced the destruction of rushing water on our own property. Never underestimate the force of moving water!
I’m not sure who constructed the three-foot high retaining wall that extended over eighty feet, but it was on the property twenty-eight years ago when we purchased our home. It has served its purpose well. After the shock and amazement of what rapid running water can do wore off, I called the insurance company. No coverage! We don’t live in a flood zone, therefore, we don’t have flood insurance, and besides, this was caused by soil erosion. According to the insurance policy, rainwater, the root cause of the erosion, is not a consideration.
Once I learned we were on our own with this mess, anger and despair set in. Satan began filling my mind with lies such as “You will never get ahead financially.” Thankfully, my sister set me straight on that line of thinking, reminding me that I know better. Yes, I do know better. God has blessed us with so much more than most people, especially during this time of the COVID19 pandemic. So, when my husband saw the damage and reacted the same way, I too reminded him that this was not the way God wants us to respond. When unexpected expenses arise, it’s an opportunity to let God amaze us rather than a reason to complain. After all, we have a roof over our heads, food in the pantry and clothes in the closet. And furthermore, God has seen to it that my husband has kept his job while so many are being added to the unemployed list daily.
The pile of bricks in our yard reminded me of the story of Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem rebuilding the wall around their city. Although our wall was only for prevention of soil erosion and not for protection from enemies, Nehemiah’s responses and actions leading this project give me hope and encouragement for our small repair job.
Nehemiah, a Jew who was the cupbearer to the King of Persia, found out about the condition of the walls and city of Jerusalem, and although he didn’t live in Jerusalem, it grieved him to the point of weeping. He fasted and prayed to the Lord about taking on the task of rebuilding this city. With the King’s favor and more importantly the Lord’s, he set out to do just that.
With all this favor, it would seem that Nehemiah would get right to work with no problems thwarting this project. But, not so fast! There were three men who originated from foreign nations who ridiculed and mocked him, trying to start a political battle. Nehemiah did not let them get to him and responded with “The God of Heaven will give us success.” This only made the three men angry and they began to insult the workers. But their criticism wasn’t enough, so they plotted together with others to fight against the Jews and eventually kill them. Their enemies were relentless, yet the workers kept on working and Nehemiah kept on encouraging them. He told them, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your families.” After this the builders themselves began carrying weapons as they worked along side those who were guarding them. Nehemiah reminded the people that God would fight for them and He did. The wall was completely repaired in only fifty-two days.
Just as Nehemiah had visible enemies trying to stop him from accomplishing God’s plans, we have an unseen enemy, Satan, who wants to stop us from living out God’s purposes for our lives. You may think repairing a suburban retaining wall is not a big deal compared to a city wall, but God is interested in every area of our lives, no matter how insignificant they may seem. I have to remind myself daily that God is on His throne and in control and when I take my problems to him, he will make a way just as he did for Nehemiah. When we are in what seems like impossible situations, we must call on God to do the supernatural. Satan is relentless, but remember what John wrote, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Build that Wall!