Nehemiah 2:2-3 ESV
2And 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. 3I 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?”
According to the Persian kings, one should not enter into his court without being summoned nor should one be sad in the presence of the king, lest they face execution. Nehemiah was risking a great deal when he let his expression be made known to the king. By Nehemiah, showing sadness was also a way of expressing guilt and since he was the cupbearer, he could have been suspected of treason or trying to poison the king. However, because God was with Nehemiah, the king showed him great favor and allowed Nehemiah to speak and express his desires. Additionally, Nehemiah was very cautious in the way he presented the information to the king. He made sure the king knew he was loyal and then presented his request in a way as to not offend the king. The bottom line was that Nehemiah knew the right time to present his request, he was able to take courage because of the motive of his request and what was grieving him, and he trusted in God’s hand. There may be things that burden us and we pray about it deeply. God knows the request and He will act according to His will. We need to keep our eyes open to the opportunity He gives; we are to be courageous to take that opportunity; we also need to trust in God’s leading in the outcome.
I know I have been given opportunities by God and not have taken them because I was too scared. I also know there have been times I have missed opportunities because I was not looking for it. I prayed for something to happen and expected God to lay it right in my lap without doing anything. I know that I need to be able to:
1) Overcome my fear not to act when given an opportunity.
2) Remember what I prayed for. When I forget, I tend to miss the opportunity because I am not looking for it. By keeping track of my prayers, I will be able to recognize God’s hand moving in situations.
3) Trust God and not worry about the outcome. If God is with me in something, there is no need to worry about the outcome for it will succeed. Worry will not help me see results faster nor will God desire to move because of my lack of faith. God sees faith and responds.
Jesus, I know I have missed opportunities, because I was afraid of something, like looking bad in front of people, or fearing remarks, criticism, etc. I also know that I worry about the outcomes. Please build my faith in You and help me to be diligent in prayer and being in your word so I can see your hand moving in my life. I love you, Jesus! Amen