Old Jean Shorts: Lessons from Nehemiah 9

You know summer is coming when you put on your jeans and you begin to feel prickly sweat start to crawl up your shins, defying gravity. You push all fears that the shorts in the bottom of the drawer might not fit this year and shimmy into a pair that at least keep your legs from sweating, all the while weighing the fact that had you left the long jeans on, you might actually sweat off a pound or two.

After inspecting my legs to make sure I shaved sufficiently to warrant summer attire, I decided to don a pair of shorts the other day. I reached into my drawer for my favorite pair of jean ones. Pulling them out, I was appalled. When did I let them go to pot? Ragged strings hung down like the bangs of a toddler-turned hairdresser and paint drips streaked the front in a random pattern giving no clue as to where and when I was actually painting last because honestly I don't remember actually doing any painting for years. I couldn't believe it. Had I lost my mind? When did these shorts get so bad?

Waxing poetic, I thought of the bazillion parallels to life. When did those weeds get so high? When did the cabinet under the girls' sink become such a mosh pit of miscellaneous girl stuff requiring a shovel to extract a single hair barrett? When did I give up on cleaning? Well, that was an easy answer. It was when I learned about blogging and the fun of connecting with other women online also complaining about the piles of laundry and life that were now being unattended because we were all having so much fun meeting each other and figuring out what life might hold in the next stages after kids or perhaps swapping stories about what life held in that moment that day and enjoying the comraderie that immediate feedback brought without tying up the phone lines, creaking the neck changing the sheets.

And then, I forced myself off the computer and opened my Bible at random. Falling on Nehemiah 9, I came across the story of God's people, His covenant with them, their betrayal, their repentance, His forgiveness, their betrayal again, their repentance AGAIN, and His forgiveness AGAIN.

So true the old words which read, "But you are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, . . ." Nehemiah 9:17c

How often we get so busy with our lives. The important things get pushed aside out of view, under the cabinet or in the drawer with the summer clothes: our relationship with God, our God-given need for Christian fellowship, and our bible studies. We turn around one day and our Christian walk that used to fit in God's plan is now in rags, paint spattered and mishapen. We look on with horror and wonder just where we went wrong.

When did the licks and bites add up to extra weight in our heart and in our jean shorts? Sometimes it is so slow and steady that we can't even remember the slide down the hill. Sometimes a single event takes us down a quick disintegration into prideful abandon and disillusionment with our Christian sisters and brothers. Satan doesn't care which way we fall, just that we do fall and miss the incredible freedom and love that God, through His Son, Christ, has to offer us and the joy of the accountability of the Holy Spirit whose whispers are muted and veiled when we let other voices crowd in.

But, praise the Lord for His forgiveness. Because of His love of us, His creation, He keeps letting us come back, clothing us in fresh robes and giving us a new start!

Are you disillusioned or overwhelmed with the burdens of life that have become heavier than you can bear and yet you still try to bear them alone? When Jesus came to earth to die as a final sacrifice for our sins, He said this, "Take My Yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30.) What joy and freedom there is in Christ, in staying in His word, in fellowshiping with other Christians, being held accountable by each other every day, in spite of the eventual fires that can only bring forth gold from dross if your heart is true.

Don't let life catch you unaware. God knows your heart and is waiting to help you organize and clean out. You have to knock. You have to open the door. Let the light shine off those new robes of glory once again.

Comments

  1. I love your analogies here. The thought that we may have sacrificed the best for something that just may be good comes to mind as I think about the example of blogging or the examples of what keeps us from spirituality. One of the best posts I have read in a long time, truly.

  2. This is awesome! I can totally related and LOL’d at your cleaning analogies. I think we’re related. :-)

    The lure of the enemy/the world/our flesh lures us constantly. We must be ever-vigilant to put God first. Also, the good things in our life may not be the best. It takes wisdom to know the difference.

    That book of Nehemiah has some incredible teaching. It really opened my eyes when I studied it last year.

    Blessings,
    Kelli

  3. Great, great post. I’m going to bookmark it to read again when the kids aren’t distracting me. :)

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