At the end of the 1988 Peter Weir film, Truman, when the Truman Show ends after running for 30 years non stop, the film cuts to a pair of security guards who are avid fans. Whilst munching on a slice of pizza, their response to this show which they have invested so much time and energy ending is simply, “what else is on?” It’s a bizarre moment.
Some moments deserve more than a simple “what else is on?”
In just 52 days the city wall of Jerusalem had been rebuilt, the city gates replaced, and the people had discovered their identity. This is the story of Nehemiah. At the end of the 52 days, the people who have worked on the wall return to their homes, but they don’t stay there. For six days they reflect on what has occurred and then, on New Years Day, they all start to make their way to the city square in Jerusalem.
What happens next is dramatic. The people celebrate and worship God, for the next eight days. They listen to Scripture, they camp out in the city, they raise their hands, shout amen, grieve at their sin and bow with their faces to the ground. They are a very different people to the ones who two months prior had lived in ruins, oppressed and lost. They now have a sense of identity and purpose under their God.
How did this happen? How did they get to this place where they were so open to God?
Two months before they took a risk, and dared to believe that God would be faithful. Two months ago they dared give themselves to a God given vision of their city, and as they stepped out in faith they experienced the faithfulness of God.
To know God this way is never found in the life without risk. It is never found in the life where you only operate in the realm of what you can do in your own strength. It is found in a life where you step out and trust God.