Brokenness is that fracturing of our being due in part to our own sinful choices as well as the sinful choices of others that affect us.
We’ve all experienced that state of emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual distress that results from living in a fallen, broken world ruined by sin.
The book of Nehemiah is the account of how God met His people at a point where they experienced a profound sense of brokenness and trauma.
Nehemiah’s brothers clearly articulated that sense of trauma in vs. 3. 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."
The phrase great trouble conveys a sense of deep distress, misery, misfortune and calamity. It’s coupled with the term disgrace or shame which highlights how the objects of ridicule and insult are made to feel.
Have you, those close to you or those in your community ever felt like that?
It’s how God’s people felt even though He kept His promise to rescue them from complete destruction and restore them to their own land. The feelings expressed by God’s people in the book of Nehemiah happened around 70 years after God kept His promise to end His people’s exile, bring them back to their land, and lead them to rebuild their temple. And about 140 years after the traumatic destruction of Jerusalem. For me it confirms that trauma and brokenness can persist with authentic salvation.
Following their salvation, God sent Ezra the priest who arrived in Jerusalem around 13 years before Nehemiah to teach them God’s ways and basically straighten out their theology. Once more we’re reminded that good theology while crucial to our walk with the Lord, doesn’t automatically deal with our trauma.
I believe that’s why God raised up Nehemiah whose name means God has comforted to bring His people healing in the midst of their redemption.
In this way, Nehemiah is like Christ whom God sent to bring redemption and restoration to the world.