Precisely on the 26th day of June, 2023, I had an overwhelming urge to be grateful to God. I heard Him telling me that He loves me very much. He also told me that He is a giver. He always gives and He never stops giving.

I found this very encouraging and reassuring especially at a time like this. I pray that as you read this you will also be encouraged and reassured. Though we live in this world we are not of this world. But things happen in this world that we are not excluded from and it is up to us to live above the chaos.

Here are a few tips to help us live out our lives here without losing our minds at every sign of a challenge. All these tips are gotten from the book of Nehemiah in the bible. You see, Nehemiah had been born to Jewish parents who had been taken captive and exiled in a foreign land. He was in the service of the king of Persia as a cup bearer: a highly esteemed, well paid and influential position. And so it was that he was able to tell the king of the calamity that had befallen the Jews of the remnant that had returned to Judah. A long story short, the king saw Nehemiah’s fallen and troubled countenance and asked what was wrong. Nehemiah described to King Artaxerxes the sorry state of Judah, the city where his ancestors lay, how it had fallen apart and its gates had been burnt down. The King equipped Nehemiah and sent him to rebuild the city walls.

As soon as Nehemiah moved to carry out the work, opposition arose against him from those who did not want anything good for the children of Israel. Their opposition did not discourage Nehemiah. He was determined to rebuild the wall and his faith was great. Is there any opposition against you today, please do not be discouraged. Stay determined to succeed.

Notably these were some of Nehemiah’s strategies:

·         He was discreet: “I set out during the night with a few others. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” Nehemiah 2:12 NIV  

·         He did not stop praying, He prayed at every opportunity and at every turn: “Hear us, our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity.” Nehemiah 4:4 NIV

·         Nehemiah trusted God completely and was not afraid of the plots and schemes of the enemy: “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people. ‘Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.’” Nehemiah 4:4 NIV

·         He spoke up boldly against every opposition. When Sanballat, Tobias ad Geshem kept trying to confuse, derail and scare him, he was unmoved. “so I sent messengers to them with this reply: ‘I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?’” Nehemiah 6:3 NIV

·         Nehemiah simply refused to be distracted or intimidated by the enemy. When they went as far as sending an open letter in order to implicate him, see what his reply was. “I sent him this reply: ‘Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head’.” Nehemiah 6:8 NIV

At this point, it appeared that there was opposition at every turn for Nehemiah and the Jews. I am suddenly reminded of a short video I saw that was a description of what people are going through in Nigeria at the moment. In this video every time the man, representing Nigerians, thought he had safely navigated his way around one calamity, another one would just spring up and start hunting him down again.

Dear friend, do you feel this way? I have come to encourage you today. We can live above the noise. God loves us; please let us never forget that. Like Nehemiah, we must realize that all these are distractions. Please do not be intimidated or scared. Let us put all our trust in God; the One who loves us very much. Keep whatever plans you are making to yourself and above all do not stop praying.