I used to cringe when the phone rang. There was a time in my life when I was called down to my son’s school daily to discipline him. One day, weary, defeated, and overwhelmed after leaving, I had cried off all my makeup and still had to return to work, so I stopped at a CVS to buy eyeliner. I stood in the makeup section with an eye-pencil clutched in my hand and caught a glimpse of my puffy eyes and red splotchy face in the mirror. The words of Nehemiah rang in my head. “I am doing a great work and cannot come down.” (Nehemiah 6:3)

God had placed a vision in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem (which had been torn down and the gates burned). While he and his men repaired the wall, Sanballat, the Governor of Samaria to the north, and his cronies heard about Nehemiah’s work and attempted to thwart him. He taunted, mocked, and scorned the men as they labored and later moved to threats, lies, and plans of harm. Nehemiah told his people, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14) He instructed his men to keep their weapons on them at all times. They held a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other while up on ladders. They slept in their clothes, prepared and ready.

What Nehemiah said still applies. That day, at the CVS, eyeliner became my warpaint. I was ready to do battle and fight for my son, my family, and my home, and God has been faithful. Last night, that same son sat in our back yard with a group of 28+ high schoolers praying.

wooden ladder

Listen to Nehemiah’s words. Hear them in your own heart. Don’t be afraid of the enemy. Remember the Lord, who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes! When we are doing God’s work, there will be opposition. Sometimes our battle will be a visible foe like Sanballat. Sometimes it won’t be tangible. The Apostle Paul stated, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).” Battles aren’t easy. Nehemiah prayed, then, he pressed through, stayed on that ladder, and continued his great work despite the trouble. In the end, it was Sanballat and his men who lost their self-confidence because they realized this work had been done by the hand of God.

Whether your warpaint is eyeliner, lipstick, a slick hairdo, or a knockout pair of shoes, be at the ready. A battle is waging whether we want it to or not, but we are doing a great work, and despite the opposition, we need to stay on those ladders with hammer and swords in hand until God’s work is completed.

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