Several years ago, I sensed God calling me to return to school.  After arguing with Him for a while, I finally gave in and started that new journey. I knew finishing would not be easy, but I had no idea how hard it would be.

I faced several significant upheavals in my personal life. I found myself battling attacks from without and within while trying to faithfully do the work to which I had been called. My studies frequently took a backseat to more pressing matters, and my dependence on God’s intervention has never been more evident. Time and again, He proved faithful.

Reading in Nehemiah, I found his situation relatable to my own. God gave him the formidable task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the Babylonian invasion. He faced many expected and unexpected challenges that were much worse than my own.

Nehemiah chapter 4 provides a treasure trove of wisdom and understanding for those who find themselves in similar circumstances. Here are a few gems I gleaned that I hope will be helpful to you as well.


Nehemiah faced discouragement from his enemies who plotted against him, but also from those within his own community who found the task too daunting. His first reaction was to pray and set a guard against the enemy. Prayer shifted his focus from the problem to the Problem Solver.

As we face discouragement – whether from others or our own misgivings – may we also turn first to prayer. God has not left us ignorant of our enemy’s schemes (1 Cor. 2:11), and He alone is our greatest source of strength, comfort, wisdom, and so much more. “Oh what peace we often forfeit! Oh what needless pain we bear! All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Develop a Plan of Action

After praying, Nehemiah came up with a clear strategy for rebuilding the wall while protecting against attacks. He says in verse 14, “Do not be afraid of [the enemy]. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your [families] and your homes.” These words reminded the builders that all they held dear was at stake (addressing their external discouragement) and turned their attention back to God’s unwavering character (addressing their internal struggles).

God frustrated but did not eliminate the enemy. Nor did He remove His calling from His people. Nehemiah recognized the potential for further attacks but did not dread them. He prepared to the best of his ability, trusted in God’s provision, rallied the workers and leaders to support one another, and called them to action.

As you pray over your own situation, ask God to help you develop a plan that will allow you to 1) keep your gaze fixed on Him, 2) diligently work toward fulfilling your calling, 3) prepare for and fend off potential attacks. Get other believers involved in developing and implementing your plan.

Get to Work

Verse 15 says, “When our enemies heard that [their scheming] was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work.” By God’s grace, Nehemiah implemented his strategy, allowing the workers to simultaneously build the wall and battle the enemy.

He instructed them in verse 20, to come to each other’s aid in times of need and reminded them “Our God will fight for us.” He essentially tells them to show up and experience God’s victory firsthand.

God offers us victory too when we seek Him first and put our faith into action.

Because of Nehemiah’s trust in the Lord and his faithfulness to his calling, the people completed rebuilding the wall in just fifty-two days. They accomplished in less than two months what many feared could never be done.

My degree has taken longer than fifty-two days – at this point it feels more like fifty-two years. But by God’s grace, I will continue working until the task He called me to is completed. Whether I wield (or drag) a sword or a hammer on any given day, I know that the Lord is fighting for me and giving me His strength to press on.

Perhaps you are facing a wall today too. You feel discouragement from without and within. The task before you seems impossible, and putting one foot in front of the other requires every ounce of strength you possess. If that is you, look to Nehemiah’s example. Pray, develop a plan of action, and get to work. And remember that you are not alone. The Lord is fighting for you, and we are behind you to cheer you on and to battle and build alongside you.