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Hitting the wall.


It's most prevalent in long distance sports, hitting the wall. For runners and cyclists hitting the wall, or the bonk in some cultures, is the sudden fatigue and loss of energy resulting from depletion of glycogen in the liver and muscles. In my little slogging world there's always a destination of short duration---5 miles or 60 minutes. So, I've never hit the wall in it's most literal sense. But, there's a metaphorical wall too, and most of us know it intimately. It's that point in just about any undertaking when we lose effectiveness, perhaps experience a loss of positive traction, maybe even a simple loss of interest. It's one of underlying forces that disconnects many of us from finishing what we start. We hit the wall and just can't find the stuff to navigate past it.

What causes us to hit this metaphorical wall? Well, honestly, that answer is beyond my pay grade, as they say. Even more, my Christian worldview points me to Scripture when I run into those obstacles and barriers so prominent in just about every life venue. This real time Bible drill usually takes me to one of the testimonies missionary and Apostle Paul included in so many of his letters. 2 Corinthians 11-12 is one of those prime sources of truth about this proverbial wall. Let me summarize---

1. Paul mentioned many obstacles that could have represented hitting the wall

in his personal life. These included physical suffering, imminent danger, toil

and hardship, sleeplessness, physical deprivation, betrayal of friends, anxiety

from responsibility, and perhaps disappointment, unfulfilled plans, and even

revelations from God that caused others to despise him. Then, finally, there

was the "thorn in the flesh" (2 Cor. 12:7) that Paul prayed three times would

be removed by God. it sounds to me like Paul hit several walls along the way,

but continued nonetheless.

2. Jesus gave Paul the ultimate solution for moving past what seemed to be a

catalog of impassable walls. he said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my

power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

This may not make any sense whatsoever, his grace being sufficient to overcome the roadblocks that could easily turn us back. Like the runner or cyclist we typically will depend on our own resources along the way to keep us on track. But, even energy drinks and carb loading mid-course aren't always sufficient to restore what circumstances have drained. Training and preparation may be the sure way to kick past those walls.

Oh no, it's the "d" word again, discipline (note the resemblance of discipline and disciple). These are the daily disciplines Jesus explained to those who would be his disciples---"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23, ESV). In the specific case of hitting the wall these disciplines translate to laying aside all of our human solutions to the wall problem and relying on Christ's provision of the grace to keep moving. Self-denial in the extreme.

The grace Paul talked about has additional names, like endurance, patience, steadfastness, perseverance, courage, joy, hope, and peace. When we hit the wall there's the reminder that his grace is sufficient and another that has been so critical as Harriet and i have hit a wall or two in this life. It is the promise that the Spirit gave James as he wrote his Epistle: "But he gives more grace" (James 4:6, ESV). More. More grace. Life throws some impediments into our path. "But, he gives more grace".

There will be walls along the way. But, then, there's more grace.


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