I’ve been reflecting recently on some impenetrable walls in my life, and how after pushing up against them with no effect, Jesus shows up and miraculously moves me to the other side.
This epiphany called to mind the post-resurrection accounts of Jesus appearing in locked rooms, transcending spaces where his disciples had hidden in fear.
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”John 20:19
As I researched these passages online, I came across numerous scholarly debates about the metaphysics of these accounts, which seem to me to completely miss the point. Isn’t the deeper truth that what we experience as impenetrable, unmovable, intractable, impossible, is nothing for Jesus?
The apostles’ experience suggests these walls are often built on fear. Maybe it’s a relationship that’s impossibly broken. A situation that overwhelms and distresses you. A belief that’s being deeply challenged. An addiction. Deep loss or grief.
For me lately it’s been a situation about which I had deep misgivings. It filled me with worry and fear. And try as I might, I just could not seem to release it to the Lord. I would lay it at the foot of the cross only to run over and pick it up again, convinced I knew something he didn’t.
As a result I experienced fruitless worry, relentless stress and negativity.
I prayed about it–a lot. Eventually all that praying began a work in my heart, even as the situation and my perception appeared unchanged. And then one day I woke up and saw things in a new light. In a moment I realized God had moved me to the other side.
After pushing and pushing, poof, here I was. Freedom and ease were accessible here that had seemed out of reach from the other side. I could see that God was sovereign and that his will would prevail. I could rest in the confidence of knowing he is working all things for good.
I was now free to accept the peace he offers.
Are you tracking with me?
From my new resting spot I reflected on myriad situations in my life where I had struggled and strained futilely for so long.
I saw how I tend to push against the circumstances, the things I want to change. The things I believe I must resist.
When Jesus shows up it looks so different. It’s not about me or my being right or enforcing my will. That’s the hardness I wear myself out pressing against.
With him it’s always been about release, surrender, trust and love. It’s when I sag to the ground, exhausted by my own striving, that I am finally able to receive Jesus, to hold onto him and allow him to lead me, gently, surely and effortlessly, through the very thing I was sure was impossible to transcend.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”Matthew 11:28-30