Facing Uncertainty in Youth Ministry
Nehemiah 6:16 – “…and they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”
How do we face those times when we feel uncertain about something in our life?
Can you think of time recently when you felt unsure of something? You felt there was a cloud hovering over your head with this huge question mark shouting…uhhhhhh! Maybe you have felt that way about your school; “Man, what is going on with our school?” or “I just don’t get my friends.”
Maybe it’s about someone you like; “Wow, I’m so confused. Does he like me or not?” We can even find ourselves feeling uncertain about our government, church, or how about…youth ministry?
And you find yourself staring at a big cloud over your head with a question mark shouting at you…uhhhh! But you’re not alone.
When I got married I knew who I was marrying and what was going to take place during the wedding. But as I stood their looking into the eyes of my soon to be wife I was flooded with uncertainty. What kind of home will we live in? How many kids will we have or will we have any kids?
But what about Nehemiah?
Even though Nehemiah wanted and was excited about going to Jerusalem to rebuild a broken down, crumbled old wall he faced uncertainty. I mean, lets think about this for a moment. God had given him the task of rebuilding a wall. Not just any wall, but a HUGE wall. In order for him to survey the damage he had to ride his donkey to see most of it.
I’m sure you understand why he would feel some sense of uncertainty. What could have been going through his mind?
- Am I going to have enough people and materials to do the job?
- What are people going to think?
- Will things be the same again?
- Will we get it done in time?
- Will we get it done?
But no matter what uncertainty Nehemiah may have felt he kept going and completed the reconstruction of the wall in 52 days.
52 DAYS! Remember, what I told you about the size of the wall.
So how did Nehemiah overcome uncertainty?
Nehemiah was living in Persia at the time serving as a kings cup-bearer. Basically it was his job to taste test all the kings food to be sure it wasn’t poisoned. Sound like the ideal job? NOT! I don’t know about you but there are some things I just don’t like, for example, liver and onions. I’d be saying; “I will not taste that stuff, you’re on your own dude.”
But when Nehemiah got word that the wall had been destroyed his heart was broken for his home town.
Nehemiah 1:4 says; “When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven.”
And then he prayed…
Nehemiah had a habit of praying before he even did anything. He prayed before he went to the king to ask permission to leave his job and go rebuild the wall. He prayed when others fought and argued over whether the wall should be built. Nehemiah prayed and prayed and prayed.
Not only did Nehemiah pray, he pushed ahead despite uncertainty in himself or others.
He pushed ahead
As Nehemiah started the rebuilding of the wall he faced not only some uncertainty, but also some uncertainty from others. Why? Because the people were uncertain of what was going to happen. Some people didn’t like what he was doing, maybe because they to felt well… uncertain. I mean, here was this cup-bearer from another country they didn’t even know who was sent to rebuild the wall. I don’t about you but I’d feel a little unsure of what’s about to happen. They were probably thinking and saying; “who’s this guy?” or “what’s he doing here?” or maybe “he’s not one of us.”
But despite some uncertainty from others Nehemiah pushed ahead.
We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. – Nehemiah 4:6
He never gave up
No matter what uncertainty Nehemiah may have faced he NEVER gave up. He loved and trusted God to take care of everything. And he relied on friends to help him.
I have this picture in my head of Nehemiah working outside with his friends building the wall. It’s a hot sunny day, everyone is tired, sweaty and dirty. Some of his friends working with him are pushing ahead but still feel uncertain. Others are sitting back and watching uncertain if the job will even get done. And Nehemiah knows this…why? Because I’m sure he felt uncertain at times. Nehemiah chapter 4 tells us of some of his discouragement. But the rest of this picture I see is Nehemiah picking up heavy stones and bricks, looking at his friends, and saying; “I know you’re not sure about everything. I know some days you want to quit. And I know you’re tired. But as for me hand me another brick, I’m going to finish this wall because it’s what God has asked us to do.”
Remember, God has called you and I to build on the lives of students through youth ministry. And when you’re faced with uncertainty and even opposition, pray, push ahead, and never give up. Like Nehemiah, let’s keep building and hand me another brick.
My name is Brian Ford. I'm a husband to my beautiful wife Kim, a speaker, a writer & youth pastor. Looking for a speaker for your next retreat, camp or youth event? Check out my Contact & Schedule pages for more information - www.xposed2jesus.com