January 13, 2019

Reading Nehemiah 1: 1-10, Jeremiah 29: 11 (NRSV)

Our 3-year-old granddaughter clearly says over the phone, “How are you doing today?”

Sometimes we struggle to interpret her speech, still missing a few “s”, “f”, and “l” consonants. But her greeting is clear. She asks how we are doing.

That’s what Nehemiah asks the travelers from Judah: he wants to know how the people back home are doing. Then he listens to the response, mourns for the people’s hardship, and prays for them.

Nehemiah prays a prayer of confidence, calling on the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, the God who has redeemed the people with power. God cares and is involved in our lives. As Jeremiah says, God plans for our welfare and not harm, that we might have a future with hope.

In a nation and world where hardship and suffering abound, do we sometimes avoid asking how people are doing? We may struggle to interpret their response. And if we mourn, we may forget to pray.

Ask today, “how are you doing?” Then listen, react, and pray.

Because God cares. God works with us that all might have a future with hope.

Let us pray. Loving God, thank you for caring when we struggle. Help us to ask about the welfare of people on the other side of the state, nation, or world, then listen, react, and pray. May we work with you that all may have a future with hope. Amen.

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