Summary: We run into many walls we cannot seem to get past: estrangement, grief, illness. The way past those walls is described as Sabbath, symbol, silence, and shout.
When you are up against a wall, there will be more than one way to deal with it. There will be the conventional way. And there will be the creative way. When you are up against a wall, there will be a way to break it down that costs a whole lot less than the usual way.
All of us remember Mark Twain’s "Tom Sawyer". There was a wall, or a fence, in Tom’s young life. He had been assigned to whitewash the thing, and it looked like a huge job. It would have cost him all day to do the thing; it would have cost him tremendous energy to deal with the wall in the usual way. So Tom got creative. He turned his problem into an opportunity. You remember the story: Tom hinted to all of the other kids that if they asked him very nicely, he just might let them have the privilege of painting a section of his wall. And pretty soon, without lifting a finger, Tom Sawyer had dealt with his problem; he had finished with the wall that stood in the way of his freedom, at no cost to him at all.
When you are up against a wall, there will be more than one way to deal with it. There will be the conventional way. And there will be the creative way, the way where somebody else pays the price.
We have wall problems around our church building. One of those wall problems is in the men’s rest room down in the basement. There you will find a leaky, rough, unsightly, ugly, half broken-down wall. It’s an awesome mess. And to fix it in the usual way would be very, very costly. It would involve digging out the ground on the outside and tearing out part of the foundation on the inside, then building it back. And we still may have to do at least some of that. But one of our men came up with another solution, a creative and a less costly solution. He just built a false wall a few inches inside of the old, ugly wall. He just hid the past and created a new present!
Creative, isn’t it? And not nearly as expensive as the usual way.
When you are up against a wall, there will be more than one way to deal with it. There will be the conventional, costly way. But there will also be a creative way, a way which is effective and which doesn’t cost so much.
The people of Israel, under their new captain, Joshua, had been promised the land of Canaan. From the Euphrates in the north to the desert in the south, from the Kingdom of the Hittites in the east to the Great Sea in the west, they had been promised this land. One major thing, however, stood in their way; and it was the wall of Jericho. Jericho was a walled fortress city, standing in the small valley that served as a pass through the mountains between the Jordan River and the coastal plains of Canaan. If you were to get to the land of Canaan, you had to go through the pass; and if you were to go through the pass, you had to contend with the city of Jericho, with its heavy walls. The walls of the city of Jericho stood as the barrier that kept God’s people from achieving what God had promised. Without dealing with the wall, they could not come to the land of promise.