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The Last Brick Wall

Slam! Crash! Thud! Ow! Groan! Sigh. Get up, Anabel. You can do it!

I hit a lot of brick walls through the years as I was putting on this brave front. No one saw me bleeding, or terrified, or utterly discouraged. After all, I have to perform for people to get them to love me and I refuse to let them see my wounds or hear me sobbing. But I finally hit a massive brick wall so hard that I couldn’t "pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again!" The starter was broken. But there was a divine purpose for that last brick wall.

The apostle Paul is so transparent with us. He says, "I don’t understand! I do things I don’t want to do and don’t do things that I know I should do and want to do" (Romans 7:15). I wonder what his ardent followers thought of that confession? He says, "I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside" (I Cor. 9:27). Paul? Had a problem with self-control? Yes. We relate to Paul. God meant for us to relate to Paul. He meant for us to see him as a person who would understand our problems—not a person on a pedestal, perfect, in his ivory tower looming high above us.

God wanted Paul to keep in mind Who was in control. And how did God work in Paul’s life to keep this concept of "Who’s in control" uppermost in Paul’s mind? We relate there, too. "I felt I had received the sentence of death—but that was to make me rely not on myself—but on God—who raises the dead." (II Corinthians 1:9). "We live under constant danger  . . . but this gives us constant opportunities to show forth the power of Jesus Christ within our dying bodies" (II Corinthians 4:11).

Brick walls are a very important part of the itinerary of our being "transformed into His image" (Romans 8:28-29). The problem with me (and probably you) is that I had perfected the technique of bandaging my wounds so no one saw them. ("She is such an inspiration! So strong! I don’t think anything could ruffle Anabel!") And I mastered putting Humpty Dumpty together again so adroitly that I was an expert with my trusty glue gun! "I can do it!" was my motto for any brick barriers that confronted me. A retarded child? I can handle that! Financial problems that made spending 25¢ a major decision? I can handle that! A husband who had wandering eyes for pretty, intelligent women? I can handle that! A mother-in-law who was controlling,  critical, and caustic? I can handle that! Constant visits to the emergency room at the local hospital for our boys? I can handle it! I can! I can! I can! And my posture was to stand with fists clenched, glaring up at the heavens and declaring: "If I can’t do this myself, I’m certainly not going to ask God to help me!"

But then the same revelation came to me that came to dear Paul: "I felt I had received the sentence of death—but that was to make me rely not on myself—but on God . . .." (II Corinthians 1:9). Your strength—my strength—our strength will eventually wane (I promise you it will!) and it gets weaker and weaker and finally flutters out!

I know. It happened to me—that final brick wall that I couldn’t handle—mixed with all the other brick walls that I had crashed into—that last brick wall! How thankful I am for that miracle wall. It was through that experience that I began learning the awesome truth of John 15:5: "Without Me, Anabel, you can do nothing." I had to learn the meaning of nothing: A glass that is empty has nothing in it. A paper that is blank has nothing on it. If I am blind I can see nothing. If I am mute I can say nothing. So if I am completely incapable of doing a thing—nothing—how much help do I need in order to do something…anything? I don’t need help! I desperately need Someone to do it all for me!

That’s the lesson of the last brick wall. How many walls have you hit? They hurt, frustrate, they birth anger and resentment, and require constant working on your self-confidence: "I have confidence in ME!"

Did that last wall you met leave a lasting impression? Would you like for me to email you the definition of nothing? Oh, how I hope and pray that this last monstrous wall will be the last brick wall you try to tackle in your own strength. He knows how to maneuver those walls. We don’t.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.