As I think of Nehemiah walking through his days carrying a heavy heart for four months, I think how just one day, or three, in deep sadness is difficult. Like him, I have walked many days in pain. Many months. Moments of joy have been noticed and embraced over the last several years and yet my current now is just hard. You wouldn’t know it if you knew me, my sadness is not revealed, just as the King had not seen Nehemiah’s sadness ever before. I choose to be light in the darkness. I draw strength and power from Jesus and I let it shine. This does not erase the pain, but instead I let the pain fuel my passion to bear the cup. Like a cupbearer who is trusted by the King to taste and risk the poison, I have been trusted with the truth of Christ, and by drinking life in as it comes I can show the world that I am not poisoned by pain. I love and live and embrace each moment as a gift. It is not loss or affliction that will take me out but doubt, anger, and bitterness. I can choose to be an overcomer, a leader through example. And it is precisely because of my pain and living with joyful expectation that I can say yes, even in this God is faithful. My heart and soul know a peace that cannot be understood except by walking in and through it with Jesus. And so Nehemiah waited and prayed for four months. Finally and courageously coming before his King with sadness of heart, he takes the step to carry out his God given plan. Even though he knew showing a presence other than happiness before a King could have cost him his life, he boldly confessed the burden for his people. He prayed and God blessed him. Simple and yet profound within the details of this story. And my story, and yours, will be just as profound when we pray and act on the calling of our Lord. There is no pressure to put on but simply seek Him with a pure heart. Lay down the darkness, confess the sin, be cleansed and free. Do the next right thing today. Stay in the present and step in when God opens the gate. Talking and planning must lead to action. My feet have been put to the fire and God has prepared me for such a time as this.