ODJ: rebuilding

December 23, 2014 

READ: Nehemiah 2:1-18 

Let’s rebuild the wall! (v.18).

On 31 October, 2003, 13 year old Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a 14 foot tiger shark while surfing off the North Shore in Hawaii. Bethany survived, but she lost her left arm and more than 60 percent of her blood in the assault.

As chronicled in the film Soul Surfer, however, Bethany refused to let her new life as an amputee cause her to give up. Instead, she relied on God to give her the strength and confidence she needed.

Bethany’s faith propelled her to continue living with zeal and has inspired people around the world as well (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Her testimony reminds me of God’s restorative work found in the book of Nehemiah. Let’s take a look at Bethany’s trip to Thailand, to minister to tsunami survivors: in 2005 thousands of children were orphaned after a tsunami destroyed homes and many lives across the massive Southeast Asia shoreline. Just as Jerusalem lay in ruins (Nehemiah 2:17), a large portion of the coast of Thailand was now in ruins.

Like Nehemiah, who told his people how God had been gracious to him (v.18), Bethany shared with Thai orphans about God’s gracious work in her life. Then, ”with surfboard in tow, she slowly walked one trembling 8 year old boy into the breaking waves off the village of Phuket. . . . After a few moments, she helped the youngster onto the board, and his fear dissolved into a broad smile.”

When Nehemiah testified of God’s goodness, the people found hope and exclaimed, “Let’s rebuild the wall!” (v.18). Bethany’s faith has inspired many people to rebuild what was broken down.

Today, consider what you can share about God’s work in your life to inspire others and help them move forward victoriously in Jesus. —Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan› 1 Peter 3:1-22

Read Ezra 9:9 and consider how God lovingly continues to rebuild lives. 
What do you need to ask God to rebuild in your life? How can you share God’s love and restorative power with those around you?