You get a bit of expectation when people like Hanny and Otto pray so I was waiting for it. Sure enough on Wednesday I hit the web looking for pictures of our new little Prince George...and BAM!
American relatives recently grilled me on "the whole monarchy thing" and I really don't think I enlightened them much. I told them how I love the Queen's Christmas message and how my heart shivers when she prays for us, her subjects. How I respect her so much and how she believes her role is God-given and a serious responsibility. I'm not sure I have an opinion on the future of the monarchy, but I do have an opinion on the disrespectful ways people express their opinions...
Anyway, Wednesday...snooping for royal baby pictures. You know what I saw? The same thing I've seen three times over. I could relate to the look on Kate and Will's faces. Their titles make no difference in that moment of wonder. Kate's face told the story I know: her world has been turned upside down by a squalling bundle. A chunk of her heart will forever roam the world outside of her body. Will, bursting with pride and protective joy, encircling wife and baby. The wonder and the joy of it all is akin to ache.
And the little Prince!! He's yummy! A squishy little guy. And completely oblivious. He doesn't care that there are a million camera lenses aimed at him. He's just snuggled up with his mamma. He'll squawk when he's hungry...and stink when he poops. In fact, he's not a whole lot different than the thousands of other babies born that day.
Except for his destiny.
And that was my ah-ha moment. Knowing destiny makes all the difference.
It's what makes the difference in how we spend our time. The risks we take. The choices we make. Knowing our destiny inspires us to push forward. It lends courage. It makes the opinions of others matter less.
Nehemiah had the destiny thing nailed. Even though he was terrified, he boldly asked for the impossible. Why? Because God had put plans in his heart for Jerusalem. He knew they weren't just his own good (crazy?) ideas. He knew they were God's plans. It seems everything that could go wrong did go wrong, but Nehemiah was undeterred in his vision. He was scoffed at, insulted and assaulted. His enemies went to ridiculous lengths to distract him but he remained calmly focused. "I am in engaged in a great work, so I can't come. Why should I stop working to come and meet with you?"
This great work of Nehemiah's? It involved laying one stone on top of another, refusing to stop until it was done. Moment by moment unremarkable, yet worthy of opposition and epic in it's completion.
You know the plans God has put in your heart. Maybe you're afraid to start or even to admit you know. Maybe you've believed the lies and insults of jealous and small-minded people. Maybe you feel you've disqualified yourself along the way. Maybe in the one-stone-after-another monotony you've forgotten that each stone is part of an epic destiny.
It's time to silence the devices. Extinguish the flashing screens. Be still and know that He is God and He's created you with a destiny. What 'great work' is He calling you to?
"I am the Lord and there is no other. I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner. I would not have told the people of Israel to seek me if I could not be found..."
Are you seekking? Does the answer sound too good to be true? Bigger than you? His plans usually do.
I know the plans He's put in my heart though I might be afraid to spell them out for you. I have wavered and I have floundered. Felt disqualified by weakness rather than empowered by grace. Been cowered by taunts and afraid I'm getting it all wrong. But I'm picking up the next stone and praying you will too. Hopefully you have a Hanny and Otto to cheer you along to your glorious destiny.
I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb.
Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you...
You saw me before I was born...every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
The Lord called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name.
He said, "You are my servant...and you will bring me glory."
"I, the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
have made you glorious."
Nehemiah 2 & 6
Isaiah 49:1 & 3; 55:5b