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July 20 Devotion: Peace, Joy, & Contentment

PEACE, JOY, and CONTENTMENT And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the King, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the King.  Now I had been beforetime  sad in his presence.  2).  Wherefore the King said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick?  this is nothing else but sorrow of heart.  Then I was very sore afraid.  3).  And said unto the King, Let the King live for ever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my father’s sepulchres, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire?  4).  For then the King said unto me, For what does thou make request?  So I prayed to the God of heaven.  5).  And I said unto the King, if it please the king, and if thy servant hath found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.  6)  And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long shall thy journey be? and when wilt thou return?  So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.                                         NEHEMIAH 2:1-6

Discouragement can rob peace, joy, and contentment. But I have great news if you feel disheartened: You’re not stuck!

Many people have appeared to be in an impossible situation. A few years later, however, they were in a terrific place, either in terms of their circumstances or their emotions. The reason? They never gave up. Instead of sulking in self-pity, they chose to believe God, step out in faith, and climb out of the emotional pit.

Nehemiah is a good example. He had every reason to feel defeated, because his people were in trouble. After receiving news that the city wall had been destroyed, this man of God acknowledged profound disappointment and grieved. Though pain flooded his soul, he didn’t allow himself to stay in that low place. Instead, Nehemiah cried out to God, seeking direction.

Sadness in the presence of royalty was punishable by death. But the Lord answered Nehemiah’s prayer with amazing power, prompting the king to notice his servant’s sad countenance and then to ask what he could do to help. This miracle led to the rebuilding of the wall and the redemption of God’s people.

The Lord can take an impossible situation—no matter what it is—and move in ways mightier than you can imagine. Do you live in eager expectation of what the Lord will do? Or have you chosen to linger in the depths of despair? Like Nehemiah, turn your disappointment into a petition for God’s help. He can restore your hope and prevent negative emotions from gaining a stranglehold on your life.

-IBC

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