Romans 8:26 NKJV
Acts 9:3-9 NKJV
There have been a few times in my life when I was so devastated that I couldn’t pray and I couldn’t hear God. There were days all I could do is breathe.
Take one breath.
Then take another breath.
My years were 1987 and 2004. I hit, “the Wall”. The events of life seemed like they were out of control and were more than I could cope with at that time. This “wall” is very similar to an obstacle many marathon runners face. At some point they feel like they can’t go on.
I found the walls in my mind were no different than those marathon runners face. Facing the reality of what was ahead seemed unfathomable. My prayers were relegated to, “help me God” and the silence that I had practiced that brought peace seemed like it was beyond my grasp.
I could not hear God.
Months prior to each event, God had given me dreams telling me what was about to happen but dreams are often symbolic. At the time I didn’t fully know what they meant so even though I believed, I didn’t understand. I had to learn that even though I couldn’t hear God, He was speaking.
Think of it this way, when a marathon runner comes to a point in the race when the body is overly tired and exhaustion seems to have taken over, they have to dig deeper to find the strength to go on. Both times I hit a wall, I was faced with monumental changes in my life. The changes were so massive that I couldn’t even imagine how I would survive. Even though I tried to tell myself I needed to trust God, I was consumed by fear and I couldn’t understand how I would get past that wall.
Years later, in Seminary we studied the Wall events in our lives. As I looked back at my own wall events, I was able to see my fear. Because I was much older when I went to Seminary, I had already experienced two such events in my life. Many of my friends were in their 20’s or early 30’s in Seminary and they didn’t have context for what it would feel like. I started my Seminary journey when I was 54 years old. I went through my second wall event when I was 50 years old. I knew exactly what it felt like. I also knew that both times, I did survive.
See, even though I couldn’t see how I would survive, God knew.
God was faithful to me.
Romans 8:26 says,
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession how for us with groaning which cannot be uttered.”
I believe the Apostle Paul had a wall event on the road to Damascus. He had studied all his life according to Hebrew Practice at the time and he was a Pharisee. He gave his LIFE to the Hebrew faith and practice. Then one day, Jesus appeared to him and everything changed. In that moment, everything Paul believed changed. The change was catastrophic. Everything he thought was true suddenly seemed like it was not true, but it was true. God was building on Paul’s experience.
On the road to Damascus he met Jesus...and he learned that Jesus is real.
He IS the Son of God.
Paul’s mission in life at the time was to kill Christians (the people of The Way as they were called). Suddenly he was faced with the reality that Jesus was the Son of God. He had been working against the God he loved. That was Paul’s WALL moment.
We learn in Acts 9:3-9 that Jesus spoke to Paul on the Road to Damascus. Jesus asked Paul in verse 5 why he was persecuting him, and Paul simply said, “who are You, Lord?”
In Acts 9:6, Jesus said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Even in that moment, Jesus was being kind to Paul. He knew Paul had a heart for God and had given his life to serving God. A goad was a tool with a pointed end, like a cattle prod. It was used at the time to guide livestock. Jesus knew it was hard for Paul to go against everything he had known. He knew the reality of that moment meant Paul was facing a catastrophic change.
How far will God go to communicate with us? There are times when God IS communicating in ways we don’t understand at the time. However, according to the Apostle Paul’s event, we see there is nothing God won’t do to communicate with us!
I know that was the case for me as well. Each time I was faced with a major change in my life, God went before me, was beside me, and was behind me. God had my back.
At the time I couldn’t hear God in the same way, but God was speaking in new ways. What I realized is that when I went through my WALL experience, God was changing me so I could grow closer to Him.
The Apostle Paul had the same experience.
We grow. We change. But, God is right there closer than we think.
God speaks to us in new ways throughout the course of our lifetime. Each time we grow and learn we grow deeper in God.
Just like the Apostle Paul’s Damascus Road experience, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it because when we pass through the WALL we grow in faith and we grow closer to God.
It IS a crazy journey!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Think About
Think about a time when you have gone through a difficult experience. Recall how God carried you and helped you to be stronger after it was over. Thank God for His faithfulness!
In God, Deborah