Friday, August 18, 2006


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Water Breaks

Well, the field will soon be painted, the helmets will soon be striped, tickets will soon be selling and that marvel of ingenuity, ‘the hill chair’ will soon make its first appearance as the entire town shows up to cheer on the Oak Ridge Wildcats! That’s right folks, it is football season once again… I can still remember what it was like to strap on the pads, lace up the cleats and march down the stairs onto the field to the deafening cheers of thousands. It was awesome! At least, it was awesome on Friday night… Putting on pads and cleats the rest of the week for practice was a whole different story.

I hated football practice… especially in the sweltering heat. We were so hot and tired that sometimes the grass started to blur and ripple like green water. (I guess that was heat exhaustion) The coaches wanted us running everywhere we went… even for water breaks. The only word they seemed to know sometimes was “Hustle!” We invented a hundred and fifty ways to slack off and avoid detection. One of our tricks was to unbuckle our shoulder pads on the way to water breaks and push them up and down with our hands making the pads sound like we were jogging when we were only walking. And the coaches never knew…

In Nehemiah chapter 4, the Israelite workers who had been in captivity for seventy years were back in Jerusalem, rebuilding the wall around the city. It was hard work on a grand scale that probably seemed impossible some days. This problem was made worse by the fact that these workers were absolutely surrounded by discouragement! Some messed up dudes named Sanballat and Tobiah along with a bunch of hateful people slammed them with smack talk all day long every day. “You call that a wall? My kid’s tree house looks stronger than that!” If that wasn’t enough, even the men of Judah (their own people) said it was hopeless. Then the Jews from the surrounding counties came and said, “Because of you we’re going to be attacked! Thanks a lot!” The work was hard, the sun was hot, morale was low and a fight was coming…

But Nehemiah didn’t get discouraged. He told everyone to grab their weapons and get back to work. From that day on, half of the men worked while the others stood by them, swords and spears in hand. They were working and they were ready to fight. Nehemiah said that they even wore their swords and armor when they went on water breaks. In verse 14 he told them, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

We are in the middle of a war that is happening all around us. We cannot see it or smell it, but we can feel its effects. And the worst possible thing we can do is to pretend we’re not in a battle. Our enemies are after our discouragement and if we rest from fighting, we will be beaten. We need to live every day and all day long knowing that a fight is coming… knowing that discouragement is right around the corner. We need to be ready to meet this foe, remembering the Lord, continuing the work, and standing beside our brothers, encouraging each other and fighting together, even when we break for water…

1 comment:

codyblair said...

great words to today Lee. i love Nehemiah, so many insights.

wish i could come back with Em for a game...

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