Summary: Walls are dry spots, dead zones, dark nights of the soul that we hit and get stuck at. Paul hit one as you ministered. We all hit walls but not everyone gets to the other. You can’t go over them, under them or around them. The only way to the healing and
Back to School
Blessed Be the Walls
November 8, 2009
This week we are going to address a critical time in our journey of becoming emotionally and spiritually healthy. This is when the competencies are proven to be integrated into our lives or not. It has been called the walking through the desert place. Jesus was tempted in the desert. Israel wandered the desert for 40 years. It is also know biblically as the wilderness. This is where Isaiah tells us that God meets us.
One saint called it the dark night of the soul. It can be extremely painful. It can be traumatic. Psalms 23 calls it walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Peter Scazzero likens it to hitting a wall and the only real way is to go through the wall.
Abraham waited at the wall for 25 years for Isaac to be born. Nehemiah hit a wall in building a wall. Moses, Jeremiah, Elijah, and Paul all went through some major obstacles in their journey with God. The only real way is to go through the wall. You can’t go around walls, over these walls, or even under them. You can only go through them.
If we are going to confront our imperfections, we must allow God to clear away the roots from the garden of our souls. It is during these dark and desolate times that we fall back onto those familiar ways of behaving and relating—those bad habits that sustained us for so long. We hit the wall and the only way is to have God take us through the valley and through the wall.
Without understanding these dark nights, followers of Christ stagnate and no longer move forward. Sometimes we hide behind our faith to flee the pain rather than trust God to transform us through it. While scripture verses can be helpful and can be anchors, too often we “fake it until we make it” by uttering platitudes “God uses all things for good” or “God only gives what we can bear.” Scriptural truths, yes, but they sometimes help us stay in denial of the depths of emotions and struggles. We pretend like we are not angry with God. We keep it together under the guise of demonstrating to the weaker members of the body and the watching world that our faith is solid and strong.
But emotionally healthy faith admits that sometimes we are bewildered. We admit that we don’t know what the heck God is doing right now. We can say that we are hurting right now and even angry. We don’t have to have all the answers accepting that this is all a mystery. We can’t even own our sadness and cry out to God, “My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Our feelings of God’s presence seem to evaporate. Heaven’s door has been shut. Sometimes seeming as if it was slammed shut. Darkness, helplessness, weariness, sense of failure, sense of defeat, emptiness, and dryness descend on us. Those disciplines that we have used for so long are empty. They don’t seem to work. We can’t seem to see God working and certainly don’t seem to see any visible fruit in our lives.
I do I dare say that sometimes congregations experience it corporately as well. And we will do just about anything to fix it as quickly as possible. Anything except what is truly necessary, which is to wade into the darkness and pain in order to go through the wall.
God so longs to free us from unhealthy attachments and idolatries of the world and of ourselves. He deeply desires an intimate, passionate love relationship with us. He aches for us to know His true peace and rest. These dark nights of the soul are exactly what God prepares for us so that we might purge our affections to enlarge our capacity to experience at the grandest level His amazing love. Yet, it is only by going through these walls that this will occur. Nothing else prepares for this richer, fuller communion with Him except to go through the wall.
Paul wrote about this concept in 2 Corinthians:
7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.