Week 48 Tuesday

From Tears to Action

Today’s scripture selection: Nehemiah 1-4

Key verses: Nehemiah 1:4

“They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.”

When was the last time you were so saddened by some situation that you were moved to tears?

Some of us are stoic – you won’t see us grabbing for the tissues easily.  For others of us, all it takes is an overly sentimental TV commercial to do the trick.  Most of us are somewhere in between.

But surely we can all recall those moments when something very powerful just seems to reach down into our throats and wrench something out; those times when we can’t speak; those times when all we can do is let the tears flow freely.

For Nehemiah, one of those times was when he heard of the holy city – and it’s broken down wall.

A people in exile; technically returned home; yet still without a proper “spiritual” home.

So Nehemiah wept.  And he prayed.  Then, he took action.  He spoke to power and got something done.  And the holy city was restored.

That’s a good model for us to follow.  When some situation is so difficult; so overwhelming; so threatening; so sad – that we are moved to tears – first, as soon as we are able, we should pray.  Then, when we feel our strength returning; our mind clearing – we should take action as God directs.

It is so easy, in some situations, to just sit and wallow in our pain.  Better to admit the pain; feel it – then, with God’s help, move on to correct things.

It’s not that we will somehow avoid sorrow.  It’s that, by God’s grace, the sorrow will be the first step to a new, better, life.

Prayer: Lord, may even the sadness I sometimes feel be the first step to joyful growth and life in your kingdom.  AMEN.





By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


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