Sitting at a Long Table

We are not to fight alone. We have our spiritual family by our side and in many different parts of the world.

Carolina Ramos
Sitting at a Long Table
Christian woman wearing a yellow shirt reading and studying the bible at home or Sunday school.Sunday readings,spirituality, and religion Concept.

It was a long table with a young man from Brazil and a young woman from Kazakhstan sitting next to each other. He spoke Portuguese, she spoke Russian, and I spoke Spanish, but we managed to have our Bible study in English. They were foreigners in my country, but we saw how “God sets the lonely in families” (Ps. 68:6, NIV).

The time we spent praying and reading the Bible together showed us that the love of God truly moves beyond cultural barriers.

They had chosen to study the book of Nehemiah, and invited me to join their very small group. I found many precious lessons I had never seen.

We are now about to part ways because of our different plans, but our friendship has a special ingredient: it transcends distance and language, and it has its origin in the Word of God, which never returns empty. It’s never too late to cultivate such friendships.

Some of the topics we used to discuss were how family values are attacked on many fronts, how we should be careful with what we watch on social media, or how easily distracted we may become.

When Nehemiah and the Jewish returnees were rebuilding the wall after the exile, they faced many challenges. They became tired, discouraged, and an easy target for their enemies. At that point Nehemiah recounted: “Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows” (Neh. 4:13, NIV).

Our darkest moments, our most vulnerable places, the situations that make us defenseless, are to be guarded the most. These are the moments we, as families, need to pull together and prepare for the fight. This is when we “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17, NIV).

The Jewish people following the exile focused on the ruins, the rubble, and their enemies. Nehemiah encouraged them, first, to rebuild their family ties; second, not to be afraid; and, third, to remember the Lord—it’s as “simple” as that.

In our increasingly secular societies, it’s easy to lose sight of the values first established in Eden, to lose hope, and to doubt the great things God can do for us when we face different battles.

We may sometimes focus on the ruins, the rubble, and the enemies, too. We may believe the deceitful messages proclaimed in the streets, in books, on social media or TV.

The biblical message is not only for husbands and wives. It also applies to grandparents, children, singles, and those who are alone for other reasons. Wherever we are, we can fight for our families (for the ones we belong to and for the ones that are yet to be formed).

The many voices all around us may be loud and noisy, but God’s voice is greater and more awesome. At times He may speak in a small still voice—but He always has a plan, full of blessings and promises.

We are not to fight alone. We have our spiritual family by our side and in many different parts of the world.

Read the rest of Nehemiah’s story and discover some of the strategies used at that time, which can be effective today. With my friends we were sitting at a long table. We long for God’s day of celebrating victory, when myriads more will be sitting at the longest table ever. We pray for our families and communities and know that He will fight for us once more!

Carolina Ramos