The life you never expected

I’m on holiday, and my bedside table reading is a bit of a tear-jerker, I’ll admit. “The Life You Never Expected” by Andrew and Rachel Wilson is a intelligent, thoughtfully-written book about raising children with special needs. I’ve just finished a particular helpful chapter… about the Dung Gate.

In the book of Nehemiah, we read about the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The book lists different people assigned different tasks: some prestigious, others less so. Malchijah – not a name you may remember, not a David or a Joshua or a Simon Peter – was assigned the role of rebuilding the Dung Gate. Now, I’m no historian, but I can imagine what happened at the Dung Gate. This wasn’t the entrance of the city that welcomed kings and princes; this was altogether more earthy.

However, as Andrew Wilson points out, a city is only as strong as its weakest wall. Make a mess of the Dung Gate and Jerusalem will be as vulnerable as before. This repair job is as important as any.

So it follows that God’s plan for our life may be high-profile or low-profile, but our part is of equal value. Raising a child with special needs, caring for an elderly relative, carrying out any number of mundane tasks on a factory line or in a call centre… God values each of us and sees the work we do, regardless of who else does.

And just as Malchijah’s name is written in the book of Nehemiah, in The Bible, to be remembered for generations, so our part in God’s work (however menial or frustrating or back-breaking) will be remembered by our Father for eternity.

Andy King, The Gateway Church

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