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The work of restoration isn’t always as straightforward as it looks. In fact, as Nehemiah sought to rebuild Jerusalem he faced at least three big challenges, challenges we share. The first was self-doubt, the temptation to look at our own weaknesses and think ‘who are we to think we can do so much?’ The second – a spirit of criticism, paralysing progress for fear of opposition, failure or just upsetting others. And lastly, like us in 2020-21, he encountered a rampant spirit of fear. The answer to all of these challenges is a gift of God’s Spirit given to us, as Paul says, to ‘build up’ or rebuild ‘the church’. So Nehemiah reminds us that we have an enemy and yet he is also a signpost to a greater Nehemiah, the deliver who left a heavenly throne room to go out into danger, to identify with his people, not just at risk of his life but at the cost of his life so that we can have the victory. By standing in his authority and by prioritising Nehemiah’s two great solutions – prayer and partnership we too will be able to look back like him and say “so we rebuilt the church”.