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Tear Down that Wall

In 1961, the Berlin Wall was built to divide East Germany from West Germany. However, in 1987, Ronald Reagan, president of the United States, challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Union leader, to “Tear down that Wall.” And the wall came crumbling down. It allowed a new Germany to reunite and rebuild.

The words, “Tear down that wall!” often come to mind when I think about my walk with God. Sometimes I get so caught up in my life and my to-do list that a wall built by my human will arises. I want to do what I want, solve my problems and circumstances; or sometimes I see things differently than God does. This wall becomes the barrier that keeps God from doing His work in my life. The strange, yet wonderful thing about God’s relationship with people is that He gives us the freedom to build walls or ask him to tear them down.

I know there is a wall in my life when I find myself saying things like, “I’ve got this!” “I can handle this.” Or, “I want what I want.”

The moment I act on these words is the time I turn from His work in me and create my works. This is when trouble starts. The Bible tells me that my insight is like, “seeing through a glass darkly.”

I recently listened to a presentation that explained how human insight works. The speaker shared a video of two rows of students holding laptops with the screens facing the audience. He explained that the laptops will flash different colors. He wanted his listeners to watch the screens and count the ones that were red.

The screens flashed and I counted. I counted 60 but the red screens did not matter. He asked how many people saw him peeking through the students in a bee suit and smiling. Not many.

The lesson for me is that the way the human mind works is that when we focus on a specific something we might not see the other things that are around us. The phrase, “tunnel-vision,” comes to mind. I think this happens when we place our minds on something that we want apart from God. We don’t see circumstances clearly or we see through a glass darkly.

During these darkly lit times, I never seem to remember all the other times that God had to rescue me from some crazy idea that I mapped out in my mind. And, I rarely see the consequences of my behavior until after I’ve acted apart from God’s will.

Unfortunately, when I act on these thoughts, the consequences become real. Sometimes the damage takes a long time to straighten out; a lifetime perhaps. Sometimes these moments never go away and become scars.

During these times, I forget that God wants me to, “Cast all of my cares on Him,” I forget that when he says, “All,” He really means all. This includes all the cares that I know I can fix. This includes the cares where I don’t think and go into automatic. This also means those cares that change midstream and then I panic.

This is the wall that I want to tear down. This is the wall that may have to come down brick by brick. No matter how it comes down, the important thing is that I hand every brick over to God.

This is hard because my human nature is really good at deceiving me into believing that I can handle things. Handing over the wall of my whole life, brick by brick, goes against my human nature. Sometimes I just trust myself rather than trusting God’s Spirit who is at work in me.

Here’s something kind of crazy. As hard as it is to surrender my nature over to God, when I hand him the bricks, the weight in my heart is lifted. The problems and cares may still be there but the weight dissipates. And somehow, when I ask Him to “tear down that wall” or hand him the bricks, I get through problems without the weight of my mistakes. Then God who patiently waits, reunites with me and He continues to rebuild my life with Him.

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About Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

Pamela A. Williams, MPH, R.D.

is a dietitian in Southern California.

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