3:45am. There is a predictable voice that reviews my failures from yesterday and the possibilities for failure in the future.  It is not an assuring, loving voice. It is a voice that makes me want to sink into the foreboding feeling that “this is not going to end well”.

It is an “invitation”.  An invitation to parlay with an enemy. “Isn’t it reasonable to talk about what could go wrong with your life?” “Shouldn’t you be concerned?”

No amount of success or engagement can silence the voice.  In my inner world, silence does not exist – only a choice of dialogues.

This morning, I tried to recollect where I had read about a similar challenge in the scriptures.  I found it in the record of the Jews who had returned from captivity in Babylon to rebuild the the Temple of God in Jerusalem in the 4th century B.C.

Nehemiah 6:1-4 AMP
“Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there was no breach left in it, although at that time I had not set up doors in the gates, [2] Sanballat and Geshem sent word to me, saying, ‘”Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.”‘ But they were planning to harm me. [3] So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave to come down to [meet with] you?” [4] They sent word to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same way.

Nehemiah 6:9 NIV
They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.”  But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

The enemy of our success still deploys the same strategy as with Nehemiah…. “take a break from your work and let’s talk about it”.  We are engaged in a work of eternal import as God’s children.  “It’s too dangerous to continue?”  “Should you risk so much?”  “Does God really care?” –  Questions we hear over and over as we strain for the courage to keep our hands doing what is important.

Don’t attend the meeting.  Keep focused and working until the last stone is set in place.  There are opportunities in the day ahead that have never been before – opportunities to excel in a project, to engage a discouraged family member or colleague, to pray for a friend who has lost hope.  To meet these opportunities with strength is a gift.  It is a gift embraced by choosing to walk away from one dialogue and stepping into another.  Nehemiah’s dialogue with God was not theoretical.  It was a working one.  It involved ongoing confidence and expectation that what God promised would “end well”.  Only “great work” is worth the struggle of faith to see it done.  Our prayer should be to recognize the “greatness” in today’s given tasks.