LeadershipPursuing God

What To Do When You Are Faced With a Great Challenge

Note. This post is created as a continuation of a earlier post called, “You Never Have To Stay Discouraged; Here’s How.” Though it’s a separate post all together, you can get the full impact of this post by reading the post mentioned above.

Great challenges face us all. If you are going to do anything great for God, you will be required to step into great challenges and seemingly impossible situations with God.

What do we do when we face these challenges and what are some ways to be successful in them?

Nehemiah’s Great Challenge

Nehemiah faced this kind of challenge.

Right in the middle of building the wall the people are tired, discouraged and ready to give up. There stands before Nehemiah half a wall, tons of rubble and a people ready to walk away from it all.

Have you ever met a leadership and personal challenge like this?

Here is what Nehemiah did and how we can benefit from his wisdom.

Nehemiah 4:14 “After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”

These truths apply to every person and leader who is facing a significant personal and ministry challenge.

Six Things We Must Do

Here are six things that we need to do.

1. Look things over

“After I looked things over…”.

When facing a great challenge we need to do exactly what Nehemiah did. I cannot tell you how vital this is. If we miss this first step we can’t gain insight into the challenge we are facing.

This phrase “looked things over” means to “examine”, “inspect” and “consider.”

Our job is to first examine the current situation. Assessing gives us much-needed perspective. It’s important to note that upon careful examination we can become disheartened and overwhelmed.

Sometimes you will not get the faith you need just by assessing the situation. There needs to be more.

2. Remember God’s greatness

“…remember the Lord, who is great and awesome.”

What we cannot miss here is how Nehemiah attached this examination to remembering the greatness of God.

I placed this part of the verse here because I believe Nehemiah filled his mind with God’s greatness before he stood up and spoke.

Nehemiah made a choice to remember what God had done to give him faith for what He can do.

I believe Nehemiah remembered things like Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery through the 10 plagues, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, the slaying of Goliath, Gideon defeating 10,000 soldiers with 300 men and the Angel of the Lord slaying over 185,000 Assyrians while Judah slept comfortably in their beds. This list could go on and on.

This remembering gave Nehemiah confidence in the character  and nature of God. I can hear him saying to himself, “if God is for us who can be against us.”

3. Stand Up

“I stood up and said.”

As Nehemiah is renewing His mind with the greatness of God, faith is rising at a feverish pitch. From the place of remembering God’s greatness, Nehemiah stands up and begins to declare who God is.

At some point you just have to stand up and declare truth. Do it from a place of careful examination soaked in the understanding of God’s greatness.

4. Refuse to be Afraid

“…don’t be afraid.”

The very first thing Nehemiah goes after is fear. Fear is faith in the inferior.

Don’t be anxious, frightened or intimidated. Refuse to agree with the enemy. Refuse to partner with fear and discouragement. Don’t be afraid!

5. Declare God’s Greatness

…remember the Lord who is great and awesome.”

I think Nehemiah can’t get this phrase out of his mouth fast enough. It’s bold, confident and authoritative.

The word “greatness” means to enlarge and the word “awesome” means to “inspire awe” and “instill terror”.

What is Nehemiah saying to Israel?

“Enlarge your thinking about the Lord, the everlasting, eternal and all-powerful God and remember His awe-inspiring power and how He instills terror on our enemies.”

This truth needs to fill your mind and heart. Find passages in the Bible that reveal His greatness and strengthen your heart in the Lord with them. Refuse to doubt His goodness and power.

6. Fight

“…and fight”

From the place of “remembering the Lord who is great and awesome” we fight. We don’t give up knowing we fight from victory not for victory.

The wall was completed in fifty-two days.

God-Sized Dreams Will Require God-Size Challenges

Remember that any God-sized dream will leave us overwhelmed and feeling like we are in-over-our-head. This is designed to keep us dependent on and intimate with the Lord.

Accomplishing God-sized dreams bring with it God-sized challenges. Challenges are indicators that we are doing things right, not necessarily doing things wrong.

As the Lord said to Joshua, I declare over you:

Joshua 1:9 “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

What great challenge are you facing right now? How have you overcome great challenges in the past? What worked for you? Share your thoughts on this post.

Greg Simas

• Pastor | Writer | Leader | Coach • Senior Leader of Convergence House of Prayer in SF Bay Area. "Building people whose lives change so they can change lives."

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6 thoughts on “What To Do When You Are Faced With a Great Challenge”

  1. I just received this in my email and I’m about to read it. It couldn’t have come at a better time. At least that’s the way I feel right now. I’m at a point in my life right now where I just don’t know what to do about anything or how to feel about anything. Somehow I know God sees it all but I’m just having a hard time seeing the answers coming through the way I feel like I need them to. I’m feeling a lot of discontentment and don’t know how to pull myself out of it. I find myself much of the time going in circles in my mind about what I wish would change but don’t know for sure what is best and don’t know what I should be asking God for so I feel stuck not knowing what to pray. I don’t want to ask for things to be a certain way and it end up not being what’s best for me or other people in my life. Most the time when I pray I end up just asking God for His will to be done and that for some reason feels like I’m taking the easy way out. Which seems also the way I should be taking because I’m supposed to be utterly dependent on God. Anyway, I hope I can walk away from this message with some hope and some idea of what my next step should be. God bless you for the time you put into these blogs.

    I can already answer the 3 questions you asked at the end but it’s complicated so I’ll try to keep it short the best I can. I’ll try not to be too detailed. I have more than just ONE great challenge.

    I’ll just list just 3 of them:

    1. I feel defeated in the area of self discipline – taking better care of my health, praying daily, reading the Word daily

    2. I’ve offered a very close family member who has many issues to come stay with us and we are trying to figure out where that person is going to live because we do not have room in our house.
    3. My 23 year old daughter is pregnant for the 3rd time with a child that I can’t tell if she’s really going to love and care for (other people are raising her other 2 children) and is staying with us now and she is an emotional wreck most the time and so I have to constantly hear her from the room next to me yelling, cussing and calling her boyfriend names that I can’t mention on here but she’s going to church with us?

    How have I overcome great challenges in the past?
    Answer: It’s always been a struggled process. I accept the challenge for what it is. If it’s very difficult I might get depressed about it for a while for not knowing what to do. I cry out to God about it a little asking Him for help. I worry about it until I see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I start thanking God for the help that seems small at that moment. Then I plow through the challenge and just try my best to totally trust God with it. The challenge appears to be manageable. It becomes unmanageable again when I’ve gone too far with a decision to turn back. I’m back at square one, going in circles. The challenge becomes overwhelming and I have had a tendency to blow up and or give up. Then I feel guilty for not handling things right.

    What worked for me?
    Answer: Well, I do believe God hears my prayers. I just don’t think I’m praying fervently enough or consistently enough and I end up losing motivation, energy and desire to press in. If I could just hold on and be more patient and wait on God more and listen more for what He’s trying to say to me, I think I’d be better off in the long run. I just feel so unstable.

    Now I will go read your blog and see what God will show me.
    I’m sorry this is so long but I woke up today with a lot on my mind and I’m really in a difficult place in my life right now. So many emotions stirring up inside that I don’t know what to do with. Please pray for me.

    1. Hello Humble Heart. First, welcome to the blog. So glad you are here. Secondly, thank you for your transparency. It takes a brave person to “to put their heart out there.”

      Though I cannot respond in whole but I do know that God hears our cry and offers hope. In my own journey, I have discovered that God IS ALWAYS working on my behalf even though I personally don’t see it.

      I look back and see how much I have grown through the tension, the trial and struggles life presents. If I keep my confidence in God’s character and do what He asks me to do, it’s proved to be life changing.

      I would encourage you to do the same. Remember His goodness and encourage your heart with His greatness and continue to strengthen yourself in the Lord!

      I am opening this discission to anyone reading this in the gregsimas.org commmunity. If you can offer help and hope for Humble-Heart in addressing something you have learned from your own journey please add your thoughts in reply to her comment.

      I believe there is a ton of wisdom from this community. Feel free to share.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. I’ve learned if God has given us a big task, He will provide the resources and strength for us to accoplish it. We just need to stay connected with Him (The source of strength and life). Powerful post and just what I needed to read today:)

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