Refuse to Accept the Wall

skyline-600001_640Have you ever wondered how Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound? Maybe he believes in the leap more than he believes in the building.

The young man sat across the table from me. He wore jeans, a black t-shirt, and a faded jean jacket. His eyes were slightly crossed and he struggled to speak. Beside him, his grandmother clutched her pocketbook and nodded encouragement.

“I need something impossible,” he said.

“Is that all?” I asked. “What’s this impossible thing?”

He had just graduated high school after spending his entire school career in a special classroom. “You know. I can’t learn,” he said, shrugging. His only plan now was to enter the military and in order to be considered for MP, he had to obtain a certain score on the entrance exam. Could our tutoring center help him reach that goal?

How bad could it be? I thought.

It was bad.

The practice question on our screening assessment was 321 + 123 = ? He couldn’t do it. He never made it past the sample question.

Still, his grandmother pleaded. This was his only plan. His parents had failed him. The school had given up on him. He was close to giving up on himself. She was all he had but he wouldn’t have her much longer. She pulled out her checkbook. Would we at least try?

He promised to come every night we were open. To work hard. To try.

He did.

Maybe it was his motivation. Maybe it was the one-on-one attention. Perhaps it was the lessons geared toward his interests. His grandmother was a praying woman who backed her prayers with action. As I watched him work, I prayed, too. I believe this is key.

One night, four months into his ten-month stay, the young man sobbed as he sat across from me. “I can learn,” he said, “I can learn!” By the time he left, he could do rudimentary algebra. His grandmother called me weeks later. He achieved his target score on the ASVAB. He accomplished the impossible.

Why hadn’t he learned up until that point? I don’t know. Others had tried to teach him. He’d tried to learn but when everyone hit a wall, they’d accepted the wall. They didn’t question the permanence of the wall and couldn’t imagine it might be scaled, breached, or destroyed.

How many walls have you accepted?

Imagine the Israelites. They encountered walled cities but they followed a God who said – “Refuse to accept the wall. “

The Israelites had to trust that the God they couldn’t see was more real than the wall they could. They were fallible mortals, everyday people but with their God, they saw walls crumble.

And God isn’t satisfied with breaking down physical walls. He knows the walls between us and within us are more challenging still but He is undeterred. “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” Ephesians 2:14

He is more real than any walls we can create or that we encounter. It’s why John made a point of mentioning that walls were no issue for the resurrected Christ, “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.” John 20:26

When do we stop accepting walls? When do we turn our wall-focused vision to allow Jesus to fill our view? When do we stop listening to the people who say, “The walls have always been there and always will be?” They used to say that in Jericho.

We follow a God more real than walls. Why do we keep our eyes on the wall?

Are you ready to pray with the Psalmist, “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.” Psalm 18:28-29

What walls are we ready to see crumble? Pray with me and let’s keep our eyes on Jesus, more real than all our walls.

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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Cyn Rogalski says:

    Wow. Just wow.
    More great insight Lori…wow.
    How many times have I said, “well, that’s just me, how I do x, or y, or z…” when OT was really a wall?
    Wow.

  2. PattiLynne61 says:

    Your story of the young man learning is such a touching story…maybe not to most, but to a mom of a child born with CP, it is. God gave our son such perseverance — and an older brother to keep up with — and he has never lived the life of a handicapped person. Things have been tough but he always believed God created him for a purpose and he will do his best to figure out what that purpose is as long as he is in this world. He was able to be in regular classrooms with a little extra help along the way; learned to ride a bike, played sports to the best of his ability, had (God-given) friends by his side; started working at age16; bought an older car and maintained it; tried college but decided that was not the best place for him; was given a chance at an on-the-job training program learning skills to become a production worker; proved he was capable to a job counselor who didn’t think he was and even told him that he was going to “work him like a dog” (he later told our son he was glad that his lack of faith was proved wrong and that our son was the best trainee he’d ever had); when the program was done and the promised job had not materialized, all seemed hopeless and for a moment he felt distraught – all he had left was all that he needed – prayer for God’s provision. He prayed, he trusted, and he waited on God’s Perfect Timing.The best job he could have hoped for was offered at the end of the eleventh hour and he is now a gainfully employed young man with a much newer car and on the brink of getting his first apartment. He had always dreamed of being in the Air Force but eventually realized that he could not due to his physical limitations…now he does the next best thing in his mind – he makes airplane parts! His name is Joshua and he sees right through the “walls” and is such a blessing in so many people’s lives.
    Thanks for sharing your perspective, Lori…you are a blessing!

  3. I love this! Thank you.

    You brought to memory a sermon I’ve preached in the past.

    The Wall.

    Do you remember how James tells us to rejoice in trials, and “let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”?

    Well I don’t remember all the greek stuff but I remember the message and it was how this passage uses the same words related to what a marathon runner faces when he reaches what distance runners call, “the wall.”

    It’s the point where they just.can.not. take another step. Everything screams, QUIT.

    But…

    if the runner keeps going, there is a chemical release that catapults the runner toward the goal

    Sweet, huh?