The rain poured and the wind howled as I drove my twelve year old car along unfamiliar roads in the New Zealand countryside. As I watched the fuel gauge drop to empty, I began to get quite alarmed, for I was alone in that sparsely populated area.
As I rounded a corner, the lights of a fuel station appeared out of the fog and rain. In those weather conditions, and in my 1950 Austin A40, stopping suddenly wasn’t an option. I reversed several metres to make the sharp turn into the forecourt. The thought of that turn continues to embarrass me!
Because of the high back window, the mist, and the rain, I did not see a low wall beside the courtyard. I clipped the very corner of it, and, in the light coming from the headlights, I saw the bricks tumbling down in ruins! I felt even worse when I realised the petrol station was closed.
In fear and trembling, I went to the house next door and said, “I’m very sorry, but I have just demolished your wall.”
“Good,” was the surprising response. “That’s the best thing that could have happened. It’s been hit before, and the last time it wasn’t repaired properly. It’s in a silly place anyway,” said the petrol station owner who later saved me from being stranded.
Nehemiah, an Old Testament leader of Israel, was more than embarrassed when he looked over Jerusalem and saw the broken down walls. Because he felt the weight of the Israelite’s troubles in his own soul, he wept. However, God told Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Guess where he went to get his stones? A rubbish dump! There he found ‘charred stones’ that had been used before. His enemies laughed at him because the job seemed impossible to them. They asked, “Will they revive the stones out of the heap of rubbish?”
I’m sure it took time to get those charred stones cleaned up and knocked into shape so that they could be used again in the wall. But Nehemiah and his workers did rebuild the wall – in only 52 days!
Sometimes, when we make big mistakes in our lives, we feel as if we are like a broken down wall, and of no more use to God. But we must remember this: God recycles rubbish! He cleans us, moulds us into His image, and makes us ready for an even greater work.
The Bible tells us of many people who made big mistakes and yet were still able to be restored and used by God, who is in the business of rebuilding lives. Today He can take your mistakes and mine and turn them into miracles.
As amazing as it seems, God will indeed “bring the stones back to life from…heaps of rubble – burned [though they were]” ( Nehemiah 4:2, New International Version)
The enemy may have knocked us down, but God can put our lives back together again, if we’ll just turn to Him with all of our heart, seeking His forgiveness and help.