Nehemiah 1:4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
BURDEN: A duty or misfortune that causes hardship, anxiety, or grief. A load, especially a heavy one
Nehemiah had known all of his life that the city of his father was in ruins. The Babylonians had destroyed Jerusalem’s walls, gates and temple in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 25:1-21). There was a little glimpse of hope throughout the years as 50,000 Jews had returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple and the city. Sadly, the temple took twenty years alone to build because Gentiles had hindered the work (Ezra 1-6), and the city and walls were still ruined. Nehemiah was going about his normal life as the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes in the year 444BC, nowhere near Jerusalem even though He was a Jew. That was when he sparked a conversation with his brother who was with some men of Judah and received some news that wrecked his ordinary day.
Although Nehemiah may have known about the situation before, he never HEARD about it. It never really gripped his heart and caused him to be anxious. He was familiar with the situation, the status quo, and life as usual, but on this ordinary day God changed the way he viewed the situation so he could be burdened by it. When God gives you fresh revelation, it is for a reason even when you may not know how to process it; and for Nehemiah, this revelation caused him to pray.
I can relate to Nehemiah because often as a leader, I plan my day, but then have to deal with unexpected crisis. Things come up all the time that you cannot anticipate or prepare for, and it is a great responsibility to lead though these times as well. The weight of a leader is great and often times we can get crippled when we think about all the things we can’t plan for, but God has given us a tool for every situation. He gives us prayer. We must continue to live our lives not in fear, but in the truth that no matter what comes our way, we can pray.
Often, our hearts are heavy and we feel worthless because the load of information is too much for us to bear because we feel like we can’t do anything to relieve the heavy load. We must remember that we can pray. God lets us HEAR and SEE certain situations for a reason. The Bible declares that we were meant to be alive at this moment and have specific tasks to accomplish to bring God glory. If you see a problem, often times that may be God giving you the burden to actually do something about the problem. As God’s beloved children, He desires for us to pray about these burdens and cast our cares upon Him for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). It may take some tears, mourning, fasting and even days for you to process some of your burdens, but God doesn’t want to crush us with these helpless situations. Rather, He wants us to draw near to Him through prayer and allow Him to be God as only He can be. God may have recently given you some new insight, news, or burden that may have crushed your ordinary day, and you still may not know exactly what you can do about it. Nehemiah show us that you can start with prayer.