Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Walls in shambles

When Nehemiah (see yesterday’s post) learned that the walls of Jerusalem were ruined, he wasn’t as concerned with their military vulnerability as with their humiliation.

The ancients considered their city buildings the height of their accomplishments. The cities represented a civilized culture. So when the walls of Jerusalem were in shambles, the people were shamed by the chaotic rubble. Rather than a beautiful city, they were living in an ugly failure.

When Judea was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, more than just the best citizens were taken away. The hopes and dreams of a nation were stolen away as well.

Taunted by their neighbors, the residents of Jerusalem were disabled and unable to rebuild.

It took Nebuchadnezzar’s presence to inspire them to resist the mocking of their neighbors as they rebuilt their walls – and their hopes.

Gianna Jessen is a modern-day example. Born alive in spite of a saline abortion, she was unwanted by her parents. Cerebal palsy tore down the walls of her city, leaving her caretakers with a dire prediction: that she’d never walk. In fact, she wasn’t expected to amount to much of anything.

But, like Nehemiah, Gianna wasn’t content with the status quo. The walls were in ruin but something could be built.

Calling herself “a fighter and an overcomer,” Gianna walked at age 3. She has since run in two marathons and traveled the world speaking about her life.

But the mockers have not gone away.

“My introduction into life was fighting death,” Gianna said. “From the moment of my conception I have been loved or hated.”

In last fall’s election, she was labeled a vile liar by those who didn’t want to hear her story.

Gianna rebuilds her walls. Her body has been shelled by cerebal palsy – and perhaps more by hatred - but the mockers are not winning.

Tomorrow: Gianna’s choice

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