Uzziel son of Harhaiaha, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hannahiah, one of the perfume makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem… Nehemiah 3:8

The great Rebuilder Nehemiah led the restoration of Jerusalem after its destruction by King Nebuchadnezzar II around 586 B.C.

There is something grave yet inspiring about a disaster that draws people together. In the case of the Israelites, rebuilding the holy city was a matter of restoring their honor. The place itself signified their relationship with God. To rebuild it would be to declare that relationship indestructible, also providing a safe place for exiles to return.

Everyone gathered together to participate in the work. No matter one’s station in life before the captivity, every person participated in the rebuilding.

The man Uzziel grew up learning the craft of goldsmithing from his father. When disaster struck, he laid aside fire and metal and took up stone and chisel, joining in the rebuilding of the Jeshanah Gate. Hannahiah, a perfume maker, exchanged the delicate work of mixing herbs in vials for the rough-handed work of stone carrying and lifting.

Nehemiah chapter 3 reads like a pageant of diversity as people from different walks of life lay aside their normal positions to humble themselves and do the work that needed doing.

In the face of two great disasters in recent weeks, America has watched people from all walks of life lay aside their own occupations to do the hard work that needs doing to rebuild and restore Texas and Florida.

This is how restoration happens; one by one, section by section, people repair and rebuild.

We need each other, and that is one good thing that shines out of catastrophe.

Humankind was made for relationship, and together we restore and rebuild. Again, and again.

This is the image of God in humanity. Even and especially after tragedy.

Lord, show me my section of the wall and strengthen my hands to join the work of rebuilding. Amen.

About Audrey Frank

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Her upcoming book, From Shame to Honor, is an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. You can also find Audrey at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.


  1. It’s inspiring to watch these saints work. Even if we feel unqualified to help in person, tens of thousands of us have contributed to pay for supplies. I was so pleased to hear FEMA take note of the Christian organizations who were helping out so much that FEMA couldn’t keep up!

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