A week doesn’t go by when we hear of some kind of tragic, traumatic event that will impact dozens if not hundreds of people.
Almost all of us, if not all of us, those we know and even those with whom we come into casual contact have experienced some form of trauma and brokenness within our lives.
Brokenness is that fracturing of our being due in part to our own sinful choices as well as the sinful choices of others that affect us that’s caused our trauma.
We’ve all experienced that state of emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual distress that results from living in a fallen, broken world ruined by sin.
Moreover, salvation from sin and good theology doesn’t automatically cure the physical, emotional, social, and psychological wounds of trauma and brokenness.
The book of Nehemiah is the account of the profound sense of traumatic brokenness God’s people experienced and God’s direct intervention to bring healing to their trauma.
He did so by sending a young man named Nehemiah whose name means YHWH has comforted to redeem, restore and rebuild His people so they could indeed rejoice in His loving care.
Picking up the pieces was the last message in this series and it focused on three aspects of Nehemiah’s initial response to learning of the condition of his people, namely his passion, his prayer, and his plan.
This morning I’d like to survey ch. 2 and highlight the need to face our trauma, follow God’s favor along with the need to focus on a couple of challenges as we start working through our trauma.
Face our trauma or the trauma of those we seek to serve. Basically, admit it exists and may affect us on multiple levels. Nehemiah 2:1-3 (ESV)
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
Nehemiah was not okay nor was he doing fine. He was deeply saddened by the condition of his people and would not be the same until that condition was addressed. Look, there are times when it’s okay, not to be okay.
To whom can you express the grief of your trauma?
Pray that as we re-gather NCF can be a place where we can literally cry out to God.
Like so many who approached our Lord the precious woman, he healed already knew of her trauma and how it affected her life. She just had to press through the crowd and be willing to endure embarrassment and possible humiliation to bring her trauma to Jesus.
Follow God’s favor. Nehemiah 2:4(ESV) Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven.
Favor is someone using their position, power, and privilege to advantage you and your people. God had sovereignly placed Nehemiah in the service of the one person who could help him address the trauma he and his people faced.
Whom has God placed in your life that can help you work through your trauma? Is it someone at work, school a family member, a friend, or even a therapist?
When Branch Rickey signed Jackie Robinson to a major league baseball contract it demonstrated the use of position, power, and privilege to advantage others.
Of course, ultimately God’s favor flows to us through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and bodily resurrection of Christ.
Focus on the challenges of the trauma. Nehemiah2:13-15 (ESV) I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned.
Focusing on the challenges of our trauma doesn’t mean that’s all we focus on in our lives. Rather, it’s like recovering from a broken bone or major surgery. Time must be taken to attend to the wound so that it can heal properly.
Like Nehemiah we may need to return to the scene of the trauma. We may need to ask what happened, how did it impact me then and how is it continuing to impact me?
What must be done to address the trauma and heal the wound it left?
What will my life be like once I’m healed with the related question How will I relate to the living God once I’m healed?
In some ways it’s like those HGTV shows where they have to inspect the house before the rehab.
At times they discover some serious issues that must be corrected before they begin. And when they do, they must call in an expert to repair the issue.
Well, Jesus is our expert. He specializes in redeeming, restoring, healing and rebuilding the traumatized and broken. The gospels drip with his miracles that redeemed, repaired and restores the traumatized and broken.
In other words, our redeemer king Jesus Christ uses his position, power, and privilege to advantage you and your people.
Jesus is the great, powerful, most awesome and gracious king who when we face our trauma and bring it to him says to us “what is it you want”
Let Jesus fix it for you,
He knows just what to do;
Whenever you pray, let Him have His way,
And He will fix it for you.