Thursday, January 29, 2009
When the people of Judea rallied around Nehemiah to rebuild their walls, their choice was mixed. For many years, they had suffered ridicule and defeat from their enemies.
But with Nehemiah’s inspiring cry, they began to build. But they did so with swords strapped on, ready for battle. They choose not only to rebuild, but to resist the mockers.
I’ve been discussing the culture of shame this week, finding similarities between an ancient people and life choices of today.
I recently heard Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor, speak about her life choices.
“I learned early on that I have not signed up for a mediocre life but an extraordinary one,” she said.
Gianna wasn’t expected to be born alive but she survived. She has overcome dire predictions from day 1 but it has not come without a price.
“From the moment of my conception, I have been loved or hated,” Gianna said.
She has more than her share of enemies and mockers, an amazing thing considering what she’s overcome. In our culture, we pretend to care for life but often we care for our own agenda.
“If abortion is about women’s rights,” Gianna commented, “then what about mine?” She only survived her birth because the abortionist had left the room when she was born. The nurse on duty called an ambulance and Gianna was rushed to intensive care.
“I will limp all the way to heaven because of someone else’s choice.”
Today, because her life defies some political agendas, she has been reviled and insulted by enemies trying to stop her from building a beautiful city of her life.
Gianna told the crowd, “If you let go and trust Jesus, you’ll go from surviving to thriving.”
When the people in Jerusalem were afraid of the encroaching enemies, Nehemiah rallied them with similar words: “Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight!” (Neh 4:14)