The Wall

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(The Wall)

Marathon runners talk about hitting the wall. It happens about 18 to 20 miles into a race. All of a sudden, fatigue hits, along with negative thoughts. It’s a feeling that you can’t go on any longer; you’ve reached the end of your rope. Physically, your glycogen, a carbohydrate stored in your muscles and liver, becomes depleted. Your energy is gone and you want to quit. After hitting the wall, runners have to will themselves to continue, to push on to the finish line.

I had a coworker who regularly ran 50-60 miles a week. She conditioned herself to run long distances consistently. When she ran the occasional marathon, she was able to go through the wall without the negative side-effects. She had set a goal of running the Boston Marathon. She was able to qualify and increased her running schedule in preparation. As she trained, she noticed some pain in a leg a short time before the race, but she had experienced discomfort before and continued to train despite it. She traveled to Boston and was mentally ready on the day of the marathon.

She began the race at her normal pace and felt good about her ability to finish successfully. Yet as she ran, the pain in her leg increased. By the time she reached the last few miles, she could barely limp along. When she crossed the finish line, she fell into the arms of a companion in tears from the pain she felt. She returned to Southern California and immediately sought medical attention. What she discovered shocked her. She had a crack in one of the bones of her leg, and it had been there for a while. She realized that she had run the entire Boston Marathon on a fractured leg!

Virtually all of us hit at least one wall in our lives. The wall comes as a crisis that turns our worlds upside down – a divorce, a job loss, the death of a close friend or family member, a cancer diagnosis, a betrayal, a shattered dream, a rebellious child, a car accident, a dryness or loss of joy in our relationship with God. Our faith appears to get us nowhere. We have many unanswered questions and everything we have believe is on the line. Along with the patriarch Job, we say, “I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me” (Job 10:1-2).

If we successfully pass through the wall, our relationship with God takes on a new, deeper, all-consuming dimension. We learn that true faith is trusting God even when we don’t feel him. Along with the nation of Israel, who went through the wall of exile and captivity, we learn the depths of God’s promise: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:1-2).

On Friday, October 18, Hemet Valley Christian Church will present a workshop called, “Journey Through the Wall,” beginning at 10:00 a.m. If you’re struggling with passing through your personal wall or you know someone else who is, please join us for this life-changing experience.

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