“And because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests.” (Nehemiah 2:8).

This is Nehemiah’s interpretation of events that unfolded in the court of the Persian king. Events which led to his return to rebuild the ruined city of Jerusalem. It is a statement of faith. That is to say the events were open to another interpretation. They might have been seen as the outcome of the powerful whims of Artaxerxes, or of fate. Are we pawns in a game of chance? Or is there a gracious intention playing upon the world and upon human hearts? Those who dare the latter have nothing to lose and much to gain. Those living at a venture according to the former, gain nothing and risk all.

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