“Whatever you do you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there will always be someone to tell you that you are wrong.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Naysayers are everywhere. Sometimes they are in your home, they show up at work, they hide among your friends and they are usually in your family. They come in all sizes and all shapes. It is our job to notice it for what it is and remain committed to our dreams.
Nehemiah had been charged with the task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. He knew the task was not going to be easy. He was appointed by God for the challenge and started gathering the right people, placing them in strategic positions to rebuild the wall which would guard the unprotected city. The challenging task of rebuilding the wall takes form as each person is dedicated to a portion of the wall in a beautiful lesson of organized engineering design. Everything is running like a clock. Yet, when we turn to chapter 4, we find Sanballat and Tobiah the Ammonite angrily trying to discourage Nehemiah and his workmen from finishing their God-given task.
Nehemiah 4:2-4 says, “…“What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices? Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap—and charred ones at that?” Tobiah the Ammonite, who was standing beside him, remarked, “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked along the top of it!”
They tried everything they could to get Nehemiah and his workers distracted. “The wall is weak!” “You are weak!” “It will take too long!” “Who do you think you are?” They went on and on, arguing against building the wall. If we took the time to reflect back on our life we could probably remember situation after situation when people tried to discourage us to do what needed to be done to fulfill God’s direction for our lives. Had we listened to naysayers along the way we may not be doing what God wants us to do. Likewise, had Nehemiah and his workmen listened to the naysayers, the work would have stopped and God’s task would not have been completed.
There will always be opposition when we take a step of faith or run after a new challenge. But the key to remember is this: Don’t let your critics distract you from God’s call. Don’t let yourself get lost in bitterness or resentment. Don’t let envy and jealousy of others keep you stuck. Simply continue to move forward, remembering that when God puts you before a challenge – that challenge becomes God’s. God simply asks that you show up and trust Him – no matter how loudly the critics shout. Move forward in faith and watch with amazement as God helps you overcome “even the most convincing naysayer.”
Has God given you a dream? Even if it looks impossible and some people in your life are saying you are nuts for doing it – do as Nehemiah and his workers did: keep on working until you finish the task.
- Naysayers are a test: agree or disagree and why?
- Why do you think people might want you to fail? Share a time when someone predicted your failure and how you responded.
- Read Nehemiah 4:4-5: How does Nehemiah’s prayer in these verses influence you? Why should praying be the first step when you experience ridicule, insults, or pain?