“11 I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days 12 I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. 13 By night I went out through the Valley Gate towards the Jackal[a] Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. 14 Then I moved on towards the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; 15 so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and re-entered through the Valley Gate. 16 The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work.” NIV

‘Facts are your friends.’ Remember? But that doesn’t mean you always like your friends.

Before speaking about the challenges facing the Jewish community, Nehemiah took time to assemble and understand the facts. This was not the work of five minutes. He put himself out to do the reconnaissance job. Times of crisis demand more of leaders than more ‘normal’ days. Ordinary days can be demanding enough. But in a crisis you may have to, as it were, work the night shift.

Faith faces facts, and it is not extinguished by them. Nehemiah did not view the disastrous situation staring him in the face, and head back to Susa on the next available horse! He saw it for what it was, but he also trusted in God.

In Romans 4:18-21 we find these wonderful words:

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.’’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.’’

 PRAYER: ‘Lord God, help me to face reality, not hide from it; but see it in the light of you. Help me to lift up the shield of faith, and so extinguish all those fiery darts of unbelief.