Have you seen the game show Jeopardy? What an appropriate title for a show that comes on right after the world news!
Three contestants are given several categories, ranging from U.S. presidents to cat food. First, a contestant picks a dollar value in a given category and the host provides the answer. Then the three contestants vie to see who can be first to phrase the question that fits the answer. Some of them do very well and win lots of money, but others fold. Some of these people wind up in a hole with their money. How do they get on the show? It's hard to come up with right answers when you have all that pressure on you.
We all know the feeling of the Jeopardy contestants. We've been in a conversation with our boss or our parents, we've dealt with one of our children on a key issue, we've tried to speak to a friend about the Lord, and the right answer is really important.
Nehemiah knew that feeling. In Nehemiah 2:1-5 of the Bible, Nehemiah, the king's cupbearer, was a Jewish exile in Persia. He had heard of the poor shape that his city, Jerusalem, was in, and he had a burden from the Lord to go and rebuild it. He knew he would need the king's help and that he would need time off. He didn't quite know how he would bring it up with the king. Nehemiah says, "I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before; so the king asked me, 'Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.' I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, 'May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire?' The king said to me, 'What is it you want?' Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king." From this point on, the king becomes his ally in this great, historic cause. This was a conversation that actually changed the course of history.
Our issues probably aren't that important, but we still need God's help. Here is how He displays His hand in important conversations. First, we feel a divine nudge. Nehemiah had been praying about this situation for some time. God will put a burden on our hearts. Second, we are presented with a natural opportunity. When we wonder, "How in the world am I going to bring this up?" we need to ask God for a natural opportunity. Ask God for an open door, and then look for the openings. Third, we receive an inspired answer from God. Nehemiah "prayed to the God of heaven" before he answered the king. Nehemiah gave a tremendous answer to the king's question that launched a whole chain of events.
Talk to the God of heaven before you do anything else. Connect yourself to the throne room. Then, even if you are scared, follow through with the opportunities God opens up to you.
We must all play Jeopardy and come up with right answers under pressure, but we have a direct pipeline to the One who has all the right answers. Let Him give you the answer.