Proudly they stand, bordering a walkway, hedging a garden, defining the outer boundaries of an estate, and even lining the sides of a country lane. Some are made of rough-hewn stone loosely stacked while others are constructed from kiln–fired brick mortared together with the finest craftsmanship. Hours forging iron with hammer and red-hot flame produce the finest wrought iron, creating black spires that reach for the sky. The sun sparkles off glass walls, some transparent, some opaque. Then there are those of lesser degree made from planks, poles, and odd pieces of lumber, painted to add dignity where none exists. No two walls are alike, yet each serves the same purpose—to protect from the intruder, whether it is a wayward step or something more sinister.
Walls present few choices for reaching the other side. Still the challenge remains. People have devised numerous ways to get past walls. Grappling hooks with ropes attached are thrown over the top of the wall and a skilled climber is easily up and over. Those with more time and less imagination dig down and under the foundation of the wall, thus reaching their destination. The more agile simply take a stroll and walk the length of the wall, getting past its obstruction. But the most insidious wall is the glass wall. The need to get past the wall does not exist. One merely looks; all is revealed. And yet it, too, remains a barrier.
God had a more ingenious way of getting to the other side of the wall. When the children of Israel followed Joshua to attack Jericho, God told them to march around the city once each day and on the seventh day they were to march around Jericho seven times; the priests were to blow their rams’ horns, the people were to shout, and the walls would fall down. There were no grappling hooks, no ropes, no shovels. The people were simply to trust God to give them the victory. The walls built to prevent the intruder, the captor, from taking possession of the city failed to do their job. At the people’s shout on the seventh day, the walls fell down flat. They did not crumble or collapse, strewing the pathway with debris. Neither did they shatter and leave shards of glass for the unsuspecting traveler. Nothing blocked the path of the Israelites as they marched into the city, victors!
Sometimes people are like the city of Jericho, thinking they are hidden behind impregnable walls, safe and sound. Nothing can reach them; they are completely protected from any perceived threat or harm. Often people build walls so high even the most athletic climber cannot reach the top, so thick excavation is impossible. And to think of walking past the wall is unrealistic. Yet, God says to tear down those walls. He wants to get inside. Sometimes, He has to knock the walls down flat, making the pathway plain for all to see.
Recently, God brought events to bear on my fortified “city” that resulted in my self-imposed walls falling down flat. People who have cared for me for a lot of years have painstakingly chipped away at the foundation of my walls. Some have even tried to circumvent the perimeter of my “city,” looking for any crack or broken place to squeeze through. Eventually most gave up, suspending all efforts, choosing to let me remain closed and hidden behind my walls of protection. Miraculously, these precious people remained my friends, loving me in spite of myself.
Then at just the right moment in my life and in God’s timing, God’s divine plan worked and the right person arrived who was able to do in a matter of months what others had tried desperately to do for decades. Unrelentingly, with the tenacity of a bulldog, she did not look back nor did she ever loosen her grip. She pushed, questioned, prodded, and loved. Slowly, as a flower opens in the spring, one petal at a time, the layers began to peel away and soon my soul lay open, raw and bare for all to see. There is no need for a skilled climber, any amount of earth-moving equipment, or walking shoes. My glass wall has shattered, offering no resistance. Just step across and have a look around.
What lies on the other side of the wall? Freedom—freedom to be myself, freedom to use all of my abilities and gifts, freedom to love and be loved, freedom to follow God’s call, and freedom to live a happy and contented life. Was it worth the pain of allowing God to expose the deepest recesses of my mind and heart, the secret places? You tell me. Have you looked at me lately? Then it’s time you did.