Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
They shall run and not be weary;
They shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40: 29-31 (ESV)
It was the last big house his family lived in when he was a child. A beautiful old colonial style home with wide, wrap-around porches. As the money got tighter they had to move; and after that the moves to new towns became more frequent and the houses got smaller and smaller. That was his take on it anyway as a twelve-year-old then and as he grew up from there.
And it had a stone wall.
It was a four-foot high and hand-laid stone wall which encircled the entire two acres that beautiful old historic house sat on in central Connecticut. His siblings and he didn’t venture out much past that stone wall, other than to attend school a few blocks away, and occasionally church on Sunday, and when he caddied for golfers at a nearby country club to earn his spending money.
In addition to mowing the two acres of grass in the summer, raking the mountain of leaves in the fall, and shoveling knee-high snow from the lengthy drive in the winter, he reached for the stardom he dreamed of by endlessly practicing kicking field goals over a two-by-four board which he had nailed between a tree and a building in the backyard they referred to as the study.
The stone wall faithfully watched over all this activity throughout the year. And other than those few noted excursions, he seldom wandered beyond its expanse and protection.
And that little boy forever wondered what was beyond that stone wall.
Long before any more formal introduction to God by those far smarter than he, that little boy used to look out at the stone wall from his upstairs bedroom windows and wonder what ideals, dreams and hopes lay beyond it for him. In those moments, he thought about God a bit, and whether He was real, and if He knew the little boy at all, and any of the dreams he dreamed of achieving beyond the stone wall.
Then the little boy would think about the stars he saw at night, and solar systems, galaxies and the universe and beyond, and then wondered about other galaxies and what was beyond them. He’d try his best to think beyond all of those to a point that he imagined to be the very end of it all, and, there, in the recesses of his mind he’d imagine himself building a stone wall four feet high, right there at the end of all he had envisioned.
But then, before the mortar of his imaginary wall could have dried, he would begin to wonder what was on the other side of that stone wall that he had just built in his imagination. And it was there in that moment—he would realize later—that he found God. And even though it all didn’t make sense to him, at least not in his head, he began to sense a strength, in that moment, that would help to carry him through the tough times he would experience in the days and the years to come.
What do you see beyond your walls? Stone walls of isolation, of rejection and maybe guilt. Walls of a childhood which wasn’t all it should have been. Walls of a career which has come up a bit short of your dreams, and now is taking a different course. Walls of doubt, of self-sorrow, disappointments and tragedies. Walls of your own brokenness, and then walls we all put up for the benefit of others—to pretend we’re not broken. Walls of striving to meet the expectations of all those around you and never seeming to be able to reach or measure up to them.
When times are difficult, when the wall is too high, or too hard, or too wide, I wonder if we remember what that little boy discovered? God is not only there, but is also beyond those walls we imagine, waiting to help us as the passage above reminds us—to mount up with wings like eagles, to run when we are weary, and to help us to continue on when we falter or tire.
But all too often, instead, we find ourselves caught up in striving to scale those walls in our lives with the help of false gods and idols like money, power and prestige, with winning records and fame, of more and better homes and cars and gardens. All of which are nothing more than golden cows, false gods and bigger ladders to help us get beyond the walls in our lives. All heading in the wrong direction and leaving us unfulfilled and unsatisfied. When all the while all we really needed was a fresh experience with the God Who’s already on the other side of the wall.
We’ve all been there. And here’s the best part. Listen closely.
Not only is God already on the other side of whatever wall we’re trying to climb over and beyond, He’s also on this side standing and waiting—with us—ready to help us over whatever wall we are facing which is keeping us from becoming all we were created to be .
He knows who we are, what we’ve been through, and what we face—and He is there—on both sides of our walls—to help us to become all He intended for us to be.
Now and for every day throughout our eternity with Him.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2011. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.