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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Anne

To Sound a Trumpet

To Sound a Trumpet Graphic

“In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” – Nehemiah 4:20, ESV

Metal clangs on metal, and the sting of your blade clashing against a shield reverberates up your arm. Sweat drips from your brow into your eyes, obscuring your vision. The attackers came out of nowhere, and you’re left to fight by yourself. But suddenly, the piercing call of a trumpet sounds behind you. A rallying cry echoes from the distance, the familiar call of your fellow warriors. Moments later, reinforcements arrive, and the tide of the fight is turned. Your friends work together, driving the attackers back. You’re able to catch your breath, wipe the sweat from your eyes, and regain your bearings.

Most of us will never know this type of fighting. But it’s a picture frequently painted in fantasy books, and similar situations arise throughout the Old Testament. In Nehemiah, the Israelites had been enslaved for several generations, though some had earned their freedom and returned home. But Jerusalem was destroyed by the Persians, the walls decimated when the people were carried off.

The book starts with Nehemiah working in the palace, serving as cup bearer to the king—a very prestigious appointment. When he learns that Jerusalem is still in ruins, despite a number of exiles having been allowed to return, and the people are being mocked by the surrounding nations, he requests permission from the king to go and lead the building of the wall himself.

God, through the king, blesses his request, and Nehemiah does as he purposed to. But the mockers weren’t happy with this development. They began threatening the workers and made plans to attack while they were laboring. Nehemiah learned of them, though, and formulated a battle plan. More Israelites were summoned to stand guard while others worked, and the laborers adjusted how they did things so they could defend themselves at a moment’s notice. But the most important part was the trumpeter.

This was the designated person who had stayed in a position that allowed him to see around the city. If there was an attack, he would go there and play his trumpet, the rallying cry for the other defenders working in other locations. Nehemiah’s preparations thwarted the plans of those who wanted to see Israel wiped out. From my understanding, no attacks were ever carried out.

Fortunately, we (I’m assuming most of ya’ll are Westerners) are unlikely to face a similar situation. Physically, at least. But we all face spiritual attacks. Satan’s goal hasn’t changed since Nehemiah’s time—he’s looking to destroy God’s people.

In the spiritual realm, we regularly face battles, and those battles leach into our physical daily lives. Fatigue, anger, fear, tension in relationships, miscommunications—all of these things are tools Satan uses to attack us, distract us from our calling, and halt the advance of God’s kingdom. And, on my writing journey—short as it is, so far—I’ve seen this many different ways.

When I was on an editing deadline, I would come home from substitute teaching fatigued and have trouble focusing on the story. During climactic scenes, doubt crept in, and I would falter and be tempted to give up. Now that I’m “finished” with book one and looking to start book 2 in the series, fear is holding me back. What if I can’t write another one? What if it’s utter trash? What if it’s the same characters with a different plot? The “what if”s” go on and on. And I can’t fight them by myself.

But God, in His mercy, doesn’t leave us to fight alone. He fights for us, and just as importantly, He has given us a community to support us and speak truth. So whenever I’m discouraged or suffering a crippling bout of imposter syndrome, I go to my mom and sisters. We pray. They speak truth over me. And I’m refreshed, able to wipe the sweat from my eyes, clearing my vision so I can once more discern between truth and fiction.

But to get the help I need, I have to ask for it. I have to sound my trumpet.


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