The work had begun that Nehemiah had gone to Jerusalem to do! They were rebuilding the wall! And then the bad guys came and made their lives miserable, doing their best to destroy everything.
It’s Thanksgiving, and sometimes life takes you to a place where you look around at your difficult circumstances and, perhaps wonder how you can be thankful; but 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "In every thing give thanks:" and that includes those difficult situations that you are in right now.
So I’d like to look at three blessings in disguise that came out of Nehemiah’s difficult situation, that caused them to know afterwards that "…the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10) and to have a joyful, thankful spirit that was known all around according to Nehemiah 12.
1st, this difficult situation caused them to pray. "Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity:" (Nehemiah 4:4) We can be thankful for anything that draws us closer to God, and allows us to keep his command to "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
2nd, this situation caused them to watch. "Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them." (Nehemiah 4:9) Perhaps if they had been watching in the years gone by, the wall never would have been destroyed in the first place, and now, more than ever, they had to watch so that they could rebuild.
We, too, are commanded to watch, and difficult situations are blessings in disguise that remind us of this. "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." (1 Corinthians 16:13) "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." (1 Peter 5:8-9)
The 3rd hidden blessing was that this gave them a sense of urgency to get the job done quickly. Nehemiah 4:15-23 describes how they worked night and day; defending and building at the same time, not even stopping to change clothes. They had a job to do, and there was an enemy at the gate.
We can be thankful for anything in our life that reminds us of the urgency of the job that we have to do as Christians. We have a message to get out before it is eternally too late. There is an enemy that is trying to prevent it from getting out.
So if you are in the midst of a troublesome situation today, you can still be thankful; thankful that you can pray about it; thankful that you can watch; and thankful that you can focus on the urgency of serving God in the midst of this trouble.