By Phyllis Maureen Littell
It doesn’t make any sense. No matter how hard you’ve tried; no matter how hard you’ve prayed; no matter how many times you’ve tried to think of different ways of dealing with the problem; nothing changes. Some days may be better than others, but at any given time or place the problem can resurface. You are caught in frustration, anger and despair. You have run into a wall.
Interesting how the word “wall” is utilized in our language. A civil War hero was referred to as “Stonewall” Jackson because of his unmovable position. We feel like we’ve been “stonewalled” when we deal with bureaucratic red tape. Parents say their children are driving them up a wall. Teachers say students are bouncing off the walls. In Jerusalem, they have a “wailing wall. ” Perhaps most appropriately, our memorial to the Vietnam War, a war that was stalemated from day one, is a “wall” with the names of the dead inscribed thereon.
Every human being has his wall. It usually centers around a problem that makes little sense and is therefore unsolvable and open-ended. Others may have a similar problem, and they may resolve theirs, but yours hangs on. You may have been plagued with ill health while others recover quickly. You never land the job that gives your family continual financial security. Your child always has trouble with grades, or fitting in, or making the team. Despite all your love, your husband is unfaithful. There are deep cutting family arguments that make every holiday or family celebration miserable. We ask over and over again, “Why me?”
Job essentially asked and was asked the same question. It is imperative that every Christian have a firm understanding of this book and be able to apply the principles learned there to his own life. Job is the prototype of every person on earth and Job ran into a wall. It made no sense to him. We know why Job was tried. It was to test his faith. And his faith was tested. His friends tried to give him logical reasons for his suffering, but they were wrong. Even his wife told him to curse
God and die. As the afflictions increased, Job cried out in utter frustration, “Why am I suffering?” God’s answer is magnificent: “Job, you do not know enough to ask me anything. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4) Job, aware of his insignificance humbles himself in the presence of our superior being and repents of his question and his attitude. Meekly, he understands that no matter what problems come along in life, it is not necessary to understand, only to obey. “I will ask Thee, and do Thou instruct me” (Job 42:4). After which, Job was restored every earthly thing he had lost (a point often overlooked that I have noticed.)
Our problem will not necessarily be answered with earthly gain, although it could be. However, we are already rewarded more than Job because we have God’s completed revelation, the Bible, which tells us how to handle our wall.
God allowed Satan to put the wall in Job’s life for the same reason he allows Satan to remain on this earth today. Will we continue to serve God, no matter what? The wall in your life gives God the opportunity to see if you will choose him or leave him. Thus, it becomes your salvation or your destruction.
Everyone can be a wonderful, faithful Christian when things are going his way. What happens when life goes sour and you are at its mercy? James says the trying of our faith worketh steadfastness (Jas. 13; 5:11). However, we don’t want patience, we want answers our own answers and right now. Every person from Eve on has wanted to be smart enough to handle everything. The wiley serpent said, “Eat this and you will be as smart as God” (Gen. 3:5). The pride of life is a monumental wall to overcome. Man’s will is a stumbling block for many. Like Job, we want an answer or a better solution. God gives us an answer and it is this. As Job found, the answers were not within’his own realm of thinking, and God’s answers are the same today as for Job.
I don’t have to know everything. I don’t have to understand everything. My faith gives me optimism and hope. I can believe that “all things work together for good to those who love the Lord” (Rom. 8:28). With hands uplifted and head humbly bowed, with a spirit that is broken, we say, “Here’s my wall, Lord. You take it. I cannot handle it anymore. I acknowledge that I am weak and you are strong, and whatever you want me to do, I will. I trust you to know what is best for me.”
The Lord God who made heaven and earth can take this burden. Each time I try to take it back, I am defeated. But when I give it to God, I have won. It does not matter how the problem is resolved, for I am at peace when I give it to him. I will continue to serve God for there is no problem that is great enough to come between us.
The Lord has triumphed again! Satan and the problems he presents in our life are frustrating and painful, but we are not caught by them as long as we remember to give them to God. Be thankful for your wall. It may be your gate to heaven.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 9, p. 280
May 5, 1988