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In Nehemiah 1, we see that Nehemiah was an ordinary layman who wanted his life to count for God. From the time he received the account from the men of Judah until he took action was a period of about four months. He prayed, fasted, wept, and sought God's will from what would be approximately December to April on our calendar.
Obviously, Nehemiah didn't rush into things. He spent time in God's presence, discerning God's will, counting the cost of obedience, and preparing himself for the challenge ahead. Waiting is often an important part of preparing ourselves for service to God. When Jesus commissioned His disciples to preach the Gospel to all the world, He told them to wait until the Holy Spirit had come upon them.
Before you attempt great things for God, you must learn to wait for God's timing.
Before you attempt great things for God, you must learn to wait for God's timing. We become impatient with God's delay—but God's delay should not be confused with God's denial. When God says, "Wait," He is not saying, "No." He is telling us, "Be patient. I'm preparing you to attempt great things for My Kingdom."
This is exactly what God was doing with Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a true student of leadership as an officer of the royal court—cupbearer to the king. In his station, he was prepared to lead because he had followed. Nehemiah seemed to intuitively understand the leadership lessons Jesus Himself would teach nearly five centuries later: If you would save your life, then you must lose it. If you would be great, you must be the servant of all.
A servant-leader is willing to wait. So Nehemiah waited. And in his waiting, he prepared himself in prayer to die to self, to be willing to set aside everything in order to do God's business and serve God's people. After four months of this preparation, God opened a door for the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls to begin through Nehemiah.
Prayer: Lord, I can see that waiting is an important part of Your work in my life to strengthen my faith in You and to prepare me for the good works You have planned in advance for me to do. Help me to patiently trust in You and lay down my own ambitions, surrendering my all to Your will. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly" (Psalm 5:3).