“Trust God and get going” v. “Let go and let God”

…when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat. (Nehemiah 4:7-9)

Nehemiah was leading the people in rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls, but they were met with considerable resistance and threats (see Nehemiah 4:7). How would Nehemiah and team respond? Today’s passage provides the answer: “we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat” (emphasis mine). 

The word “and” is the key to appreciating this text. Nehemiah and company didn’t just pray. They didn’t “let go and let God.” They trusted in prayer and the abilities God had given them to work and protect the wall.

We see the same thing earlier in the book of Nehemiah. Even though Nehemiah knew “the gracious hand of…God was on [him]” he asked King Artaxerxes for protection as he traveled to Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 2:7-9). As one commentator notes, “Apparently, Nehemiah did not believe that trusting God meant he should not seek the king’s protection for his journey.”

Here’s my point: Trusting God and trusting human beings are not always mutually exclusive. Oftentimes, we demonstrate our trust in God by trusting in our work and the work of others.

Let’s make this practical. Pretend you heard a rumor that your company will soon be issuing lay-offs. By all means, pray that you’ll keep your job and trust that God will meet your needs regardless of what happens. But you should also trust in your ability to search for a job, the programmers who build job boards, and the company that manufactured your laptop. In the words of theologian, J.I. Packer, “The Christian’s motto should not be ‘Let go and let God’ but ‘Trust God and get going.’”

What challenges are you facing at work today? Trust God and get going, trusting in your work and the work of others to help you “meet this threat.”


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