You know the feeling. That sinking feeling that comes when something is not where it’s supposed to be.
While writing my book Whole, I lost a completed chapter. It disappeared into cyber space, never to be seen again. It was my chapter on Esther, and I must admit I was pretty pleased with it. It also represented hours of work. And it was gone.
At that point I wanted to quit. I felt defeated. But my friend and my husband cheered me on and so I got back up and started again. In the end, it was a better chapter than the one it replaced.
I tell you this because quite often we get to the point where we are enjoying smooth sailing in our lives and then the unthinkable happens. That sinking feeling rises up from deep within us. Disaster strikes, sickness sets in or the downward spiral just gets out of control. Whatever it is, instead of enjoying the fruits of our labours, we are looking at ruins. Instead of a forward momentum, we feel like we are moving backwards.
I’ve been reading the book of Haggai in the Old Testament and it’s got a good word for those of us who feel like this today. Who are looking at rebuilding and quite frankly feel like quitting more than anything.
In the book of Haggai, chapter two, God’s temple has been destroyed and has sat in ruins. His people have been running about making sure their own needs and lives are running smoothly while God’s house sits in disarray. The dust blowing through the abandoned site. He wasn’t happy with his people and He tells them to get to work and rebuild.
He exhorts them to not be timid or hold back because He is with them. “I’m living and breathing among you right now. Don’t be timid. Don’t hold back.” (vs.5 Message)
He tells them he’ll supply everything they need because “I own the silver, I own the gold.” (v. 8 Message)
When we are staring at the ruins of what used to be glory, we can tend to forget about God. Maybe that’s the reason we are staring at a pile of rubble. We’ve removed God from His rightful place and glory. But He is God and He wants His rightful place in the centre of our lives. He wants us to remember Him and put Him first. Why? Because he is living and breathing amongst us. We may feel defeated and dead but the God of Angel Armies, as he is identified in this passage, is alive, ready to fight for us. We need to put down our idols and see Him.
Not only is He with us but He owns everything so we don’t need to be timid or afraid about getting back up, following wherever he is leading. Our circumstances may not change, but we can expect great things of our God. We can expect His glory. We can count on His faithfulness to see us through whatever ruins we need to navigate, rebuild.
But that’s not all He says to those unruly people of His! God then promises the Israelites, in verse 9; ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Haggai 2:9 NIV
When we come to the place where all we see is ruins in our lives and we need to rebuild, we can remember He is with us. He will supply what we need because he owns it all. And he will take those ruins and make it even better than before. And in that place of rebuilt ruins, He will bring peace.