Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

No More Standing on the Sidelines

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"I counsel you 'Keep the king's commandment for the sake of your oath to God. Do not be hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand for an evil thing. For he does whatever pleases him.'" (Ecclesiastes 8:2-3).

We love to read about heroes and famous people who had a hand in changing the world. We look at them with astonishment, like they have bigger brains or arms. But in fact, they are ordinary people who stand on what they believe in and what is required from them to make it happen. For example:

  • Helen Keller: Despite her being blind and deaf, she was determined to succeed. She graduated from college, became a leader and inspired many people to follow in her footsteps.
  • Mother Teresa: She was a loving, caring, and devoted nun who was awarded a Nobel peace prize for her work in Calcutta with the poor, the sick, the unloved, and the unwanted human being.

A real hero is one who can see the problem and take action to make an impact. It is a person who can influence others to see his vision and be involved in transforming the vision into a reality.

  • Do you have a broken wall in your life?
  • Do you trust and believe in prayer?
  • Is God the first one you go to for advice?

As godly people, we should never attempt to solve any problem by using worldly solutions. Instead, we are to fall down on our knees in prayer, for God to come into our lives in order to solve the problem.

"Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!" (Psalm 38:21-22).

When we think about the men in the Holy Bible who strive to make a difference, we think about Nehemiah. He was an ordinary man with no skills or training for leadership. He was a descendent of the Israelites, who was carried into captivity by the Babylonians. Despite his condition and where he lived, he showed us that by trusting God and knowing His words, He can do great things with his life.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king in the Persian palace. When Nehemiah heard that the wall of Jerusalem was broken down and its gates were burned with fire, he was concerned for the welfare of Jerusalem and he began to fast, pray, and weep before God and ask Him for help.

Nehemiah did not seek worldly solutions but he ran to the arms of His Father and prayed with all his heart. For he trusted that God‘s wisdom is the best answer to the problem. Therefore, God motivated Nehemiah to go to work and He opened the king's heart to help him. Nehemiah made a bold request:

  • To go back to Jerusalem and to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem
  • A letter be given to Nehemiah for the governors of the region, that they must permit Nehemiah to pass through till he comes to Judah
  • A letter to Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he must give Nehemiah timber to make beams for the gates
  • Give Nehemiah timber for the house that he will occupy

And the king granted them all to him. Nehemiah went with a vision, faith, and courage. And God moved the heart of many people to repair the wall with him and together they shared the burden. They rebuilt the wall in sections and the erected the gates too. Despite all the obstacles that came their way, they were able to defeat them all.

"Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!" (Isaiah 12:6).

Many people have dreams, plans, and hopes but very few take the initiative to bring it to life and see it through. Very few can turn these plans into reality and be fruitful for themselves and for others.

For when they are spiritually receptive to God, He will give them the desire, the determination, and turn them into men of influence in service. God will support and guide them to what is needed to accomplish this plan. He will also let them overcome all obstacles that come in their way.

"When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven you.'" (Mark 2:5).

This is another story about desire and determination of four friends to do what it takes, in order to seek God's help for their friend: the paralytic man. They decided to take an action and worked together as one (teamwork) to see the Lord, without worrying about what other people might say about them. They acted as an instrument of healing:

  • They all agreed to carry him together
  • They went in the same direction
  • They went to the same house
  • They walked at the same speed
  • They agreed that nothing would stop them from getting to Jesus

We see complete trust in the power of Jesus Christ to heal their friend from an incurable disease. When the Lord Jesus saw the wonderful faith and trust of these four faithful friends, He paid attention to their interceding on the paralytic's behalf. Their works became a source of blessing, healing, and comfort to their friend the paralytic. For our Lord Jesus Christ not only healed him, but more importantly, he forgave all his sins.

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold" (Psalm 18:2).

No more standing on the sidelines. Pray and ask God to help you today to begin your journey with Him and He will gladly show you, lead you, and help you to succeed. All you need to do is trust, have faith, and give thanks.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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