Then I told them that the hand of my God had been good to me and also about the king’s words that he had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build!” So they strengthened their hands for the good work.
~ Nehemiah 2:18
We were on the beautiful island of Bonaire, just north of the coast of South America. It was a gorgeous clear day with a nice breeze blowing. My husband and I took a ride to the north side of the island where we were told there was a white sand beach, which was perfect for swimming. After enjoying all the scenery of aqua blue water, cacti the size of trees, an old lighthouse, the salt mines, and the pink flamingos, we finally arrived to our destination. It was beautiful indeed, but in a much different way.
A storm out at sea the day before had pulled in the seaweed to completely cover the pristine water. For at least 1000 feet from the shore was a brown covering, so thick and deep that the water was not visible at all. We were told that it had never been this bad.
There were hundreds of people wading in the water with rakes, surfboards, and equipment to remove all this algae. I asked a couple of women, who were taking a break, if they lived there. They did not. They were tourists, just like me. These were people from different countries, with different languages, and different beliefs, working together in harmony for one purpose. And therein was the beauty of it all.
In the third chapter of Nehemiah, servants right along with the high priests worked side by side on one goal also, rebuilding the ruined wall of Jerusalem. They all worked in harmony to accomplish a great task in only 52 days. When the wall was finished, the exiled Israelite children returned to their beloved city. They gathered at the Gate of Water, where Ezra, the high priest, opened the book of the Law of Moses and read to the people. They were overwhelmed and cried, but they were told to no longer be sad, for the joy of the Lord was their strength.
I saw on the beach that day, in just an hour’s time, a great path was cleared to the beautiful aqua water. One shovel of seaweed at a time, piled high on surfboards, passed to another worker, to an even higher pile on the shore, to be scooped up and hauled away. What seemed like a hopeless job was actually being accomplished. When we all work together in Christian love, we too can clear a great path to bring people to Christ. Our job may seem hopeless too, but strength to do this task is packaged in an abundance of joy that is given to us by Christ. We can pass the package of joy on to others if we work together in a unified team effort of love.
Dear Lord Jesus, Help us to be unified by your love, and in your strength, to work in joy. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert