“I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you; what do you want to hear first?” Okay, what kind of question is that? I mean, really. Most of the time the good news is just some reassuring garbage to make us feel a little better about the bad news. Right? When someone makes that statement to me, I know that they really just have bad news. “The bad news is that your hot water heater is not fixable. The good news is that I can replace it for a price that is higher than you can afford.” Someone tell me what the good news was again?
To be honest, I don’t really respond to bad news all that well. “We messed up your reservation, your warranty expired last week, we’re leaving your church, it didn’t work out, etc, etc.” These things honestly just bum me out. And I think that’s an okay response, as long as it isn’t our only response. Let’s turn our attention to Nehemiah and his bad news.
He found out that the walls of Jerusalem had been torn down and the gates had been burned. The city of the Lord that he loved so much had been destroyed. Nehemiah 1:4a When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.
See, Nehemiah was bummed out too. Here’s the thing: bummed out as he was, that wasn’t his only response. Let’s continue to Nehemiah 1:4b-6a For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said: “LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.
THEN I SAID… The bummed out feeling isn’t what ruled this situation. His first response may have been crying, but his next one was crying out… TO GOD! Lord, we need you. We need your forgiveness and we need your rescue. We need your courage and we need your strength. We need your blessing and we need your favor.
This is the truly great response to bad news. This is how Nehemiah changed the course of his nation. He cried out to God. He hit his knees and made his request known. Friends, this is how you respond to bad news.
So if you find yourself discouraged today, cry out to God. If you find yourself bummed out, hopeless, or depressed, cry out to God. If you just got some really bad news, turn to the God who is greater! Trust him, lean on him, take refuge in him if you need to. He is the God who turns our mourning into dancing, and our sorrows into great joy! Nehemiah would rebuilt those walls and you can rebuild yours, too.