When motorcycle riders approach a sharp turn in the road, they strive to look beyond it to the direction they want to head. By looking ahead—where they want to go—they can ride smoothly through the turn and continue on their journey.

Nehemiah was looking ahead to where God was leading as he sought to head back home to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. In time, the king of Persia granted his servant Nehemiah’s request to return from exile back to Judah. Upon his return, the former cup-bearer for the king and his fellow laborers rebuilt the walls in just 52 days (Nehemiah 2:1-6, 6:15).

As governor, Nehemiah helped to facilitate the repopulation of the city of Jerusalem, assisted in purifying the Jewish community for worship, and enforced the cancellation of debt. He also assisted Ezra in proclaiming the Law of Moses. Later, after a brief visit with the king of Persia (Nehemiah 5:14, 13:6), he returned to Jerusalem only to find that the people were again living in disobedience before God (Nehemiah 13:7-27). Nehemiah was furious! He purified the temple, the priests, and the Levites, and he again enforced the observance of the law of Moses (Nehemiah 13:30). He kept looking forward as he faithfully served God during difficult days (Nehemiah 13:14).

Jesus never promised an easy ride through this life. In fact, He said we would face challenges. The loss of a loved one, unemployment, unmet expectations, illness, and broken relationships are all twists and turns we may face. Jesus did say, however, that we should take heart because He has overcome the world! (John 16:33). By focusing on where we’re going and the God who goes before us, rather than the obstacles we face, we’ll find that He provides what we need to enjoy the ride.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 1:57-80