Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Great Wall Builder


It has been almost twenty years since I moved up to Inverness. I left Rugby to work on a gospel outreach team, a Go Team, in 1989 and arrived in Inverness sometime in September or October. It was a challenging year and so absolutely the right place to be for me at that time

I remember a visit from Andrew Owen, who was the pastor of a church planted in Glasgow (who has gone from strength to strength forming the whole Destiny Church movement). There was a GO team in Glasgow at the same time, so I guess he wanted to try to build bridges and offer support and encouragement.

At the end of one of the teaching sessions we had an opportunity to ask questions, not just about what he had been talking about, but about his own personal walk of faith. I seem to remember asking him about what word of scripture he was chewing over and being challenged by. I can’t remember what he said because as soon as he had finished telling me, he turned the question back to me. What word was I walking with right there and then?

If someone asked me that question today I might flounder a bit, but then, there was only one word.

“You have not gone up to the breaks in the wall to repair it for the house of Israel so that it will stand firm in the battle on the day of the LORD.” Ezekiel 13:5

Quite how I had come across it, I don’t know, but it burned in me. So many Christians are not able to stand firm in the battle because of holes in the walls, holes in their knowledge of God. The battle rages and they get injured. Some leave the faith completely, all because of too many holes in what they know about God. I was determined that I would fill in the holes, that I would make the wall strong, so that when the battles were fought, people wouldn’t be needlessly injured.

I would like to think I impressed Andrew!

I didn’t want to just fill in the holes for people, although it did lead to a lot of preaching and teaching, but I wanted to teach people how to fill in the holes for themselves. That approach wasn’t always successful. I had a long history of bible studies and intense prayer meetings gifted me by the Brethren Church. I had a natural ability to study, to read and meditate and shape the right bricks for the right holes. I found the whole process thrilling and stirring, and few people I knew shared my passion.

This morning I sat down with a cup of coffee to just be with God.

“Can you feel the wall against your back?” said God.

“What wall?” said I.

“The wall, that over the last twenty years, you have strengthened by filling in the holes.” He answered. “All that time you thought you were filling in the holes to keep other people safe, you built yourself a solid wall. For the last six months a battle has raged, a serious battle. The wall was built so well, so solidly, that nothing has been able to breach it or to bring it down. You have been safe!”

If God had had a glass of something, water from a rock perhaps, He might have raised it in my direction with the salutation, “To a great wall builder!”

Thank you, God, for teaching me to build walls.

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