How to Surmount Your Walls
Are you facing a “wall” that seems insurmountable? I guess many of us are, occasionally—sometimes, frequently. In our discouragement, we wonder which way to turn, what to do.
I’m going to tell you the experience of a family. They had stopped for a picnic lunch at a roadside park. It was pleasant there in the shelter of tall pines, and the father and mother were happy to rest for a while after eating, while the youngsters explored the surroundings for whatever interesting things they could find. Five-year-old Jimmy found some boards that would tip up a little, and they balanced on one end. And then, when one of them moved sideways, slightly, he made the exciting discovery that they covered a mysterious opening in the ground. And, as he pulled the boards apart to peer in, the one he was kneeling on tipped. And suddenly, Jimmy went sliding down into the pit. Fortunately, the earth that had been newly dug by a construction crew was sandy and soft, and the ten-foot fall to the bottom of the pit did little more than give Jimmy a good shake-up.
When he found he couldn’t get out, his lusty cries very soon brought the rest of the family on the run. And so, using one of the boards, his father quickly brought the little one out. When he was brushed off, and scolded a little for his carelessness, his sister, Joan, asked, “Weren’t you scared down in that hole?” Jimmy said, “Well, I was at first, when I couldn’t climb up the side of the wall. But, I could see the light up above, and I knew daddy would get me out. So I just hollered and waited.”
I wonder who of us has not, at times, in his or her wanderings fallen into a “problem pit” and tried, without success, to climb out. Who of us has not found our self surrounded by a “wall,” seemingly too high to scale and too thick to penetrate? You may say, “Well, I’m facing a wall like that right now—a wall of trouble that shuts me from the good that I so earnestly want and need!” Well, maybe you’ve been reading how-to-do-it literature—repeating affirmations, praying desperately and fervently—and still feel no guidance, no progress, still your problem is just as deep and your heart just as heavy as ever. And you want so much to realize and experience the great demonstration that so many [Spiritual] Truth writers say can be yours. You want to be free of your burden or anxiety or grief! You want to experience the health and the abundance and the happiness that they are all telling you are available for the taking! Why is it, you wonder, that they and others can find the answer and you cannot…no matter how hard you try?
Well, dear friend, let me say this: Those writers have had their walls, too. They have beaten against them just as you are doing. They have been where you are, now—experiencing similar feelings of anxiety and frustration. Your situation is not unique. Neither is your problem—no matter what it is. So, I say, take comfort in the thought, and courage too, that many have walked as you walk and have experienced as you experience. Also, get the conviction that there is a way out!
I’m sure that many of us have had “pits” and “walls.” And, the wall often takes different shapes, but it’s the same old wall. It may be in the shape of forfeited peace and harmony or financial lack or so-called “incurable disease.” It may rise in varied forms of willfulness and carelessness and self-concern. But, each time, there has been a way out! It has always been the same way. There was the way of Jimmy (the little five-year-old I mentioned earlier): simply to look up and see the light and call, in faith, to the Father…and wait.
Let me tell you the story of a personal experience, as related by a writer friend who says that his “wall” was financial lack. His household felt a need of much more income than he had been realizing from his writing and from other sources. They needed, in particular, money for their daughter’s education. And they began to think of various ways to make money. The man’s wife had always wanted to try her hand at running a restaurant or a tearoom, and they thought, maybe, that this was the time for both of them to go into such a venture. So, they prayed for guidance and, for months, investigated possibilities over a wide area. Each time, when they thought, “This is it!” something would, inevitably, come up to block a definite decision, and they just couldn’t find the right place.
So, they decided that moving to a less expensive home to curtail costs must be the wise course. They started an extensive search and, here again, in a region abounding with real estate opportunities, they were unable to find what they were looking for. Always, something kept them from choosing any of the many houses they visited. And, in much the same way, all the man’s efforts to obtain additional work ended in failure. He began to think that, maybe, it was true that he was too old or his talents were too limited to get a worthwhile job.
Well, during all this time that he and his wife were praying for one of these ventures to develop, they were making positive statements, affirmations, treatments—trying to put the Truth into practice. But nothing seemed to come out of their prayers. They were down in the “pit.” They just couldn’t get out. And the more they struggled—trying, first, one thing and then, another—the more tense and anxious and frustrated they became.
Then, one day—much as the little boy, Jimmy, had—the man looked up, he saw the light! Suddenly, he knew, in a very real sense—as the little boy knew—that his Father had to get him out. He said something very much like this (in a way he was talking to the Divine Flow within, as a personal father): “Father God, I’ve tried everything I know, and I can’t do it! Now, it’s up to you! You’ve said, ‘Prove me now herewith…if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing….’ [Malachi 3:10] Okay, I’ll wait; you go ahead and do it.”
It was in this very naïve way that the man was talking to God. But, in the moment (in that very moment!) the man was ready (completely ready!) to accept the Divine Flow. Whatever the Infinite Process had in mind for him—anything, it made no difference—he was ready! He was honestly prepared to do it! Suddenly, he felt a great relief. It wasn’t his responsibility anymore. Tension and anxiety were gone; feelings of thanksgiving came in, like a flood.
The next morning, the man and his wife were driving into the city to put an ad in the newspaper. He and his wife agreed to meet at a designated spot on the first floor of a department store. As soon as his purchases were made, he went there…and, she was nowhere to be seen. He waited a few minutes—searched the store on both floors. He went back to the car. He returned three or four times to the place where they had agreed to meet. Finally, more than an hour later, he saw her standing right where she was supposed to be. And they were both a little perturbed by this time—neither of them able to understand where the other had been. So, they went on to the newspaper office, grumbling over needlessly wasting so much time—difficulty in finding a parking place didn’t make matters any better.
Now, it was past noon when they finally got to the classified advertising desk. There was a man just ahead of them, placing an ad. He thought the man looked familiar. And, when the man turned around, he recognized him as a former newspaper co-worker that he had not seen for a dozen years. They shook hands and promptly asked each other the inevitable question, “What have you been doing since I saw you last?” It turned out that the man that I’m telling you about had been doing freelance writing and the other man was a public relations director. As a matter of fact, he had just come down to the newspaper office to put an ad in the paper for a writer to take over his job, because he was going away on another assignment.
So, as a result of this meeting, the problems of both men were solved. The first man got the job that netted him additional money, which enabled him to send his daughter to college and take care of the family needs. The second man went to his new assignment, knowing that a good man had taken his place and his work in this city would be well managed.
Now, this man, in telling his story, said that he went to work the following Monday morning at a job so totally satisfactory that, even in his fondest hopes, he had never once even pictured himself in such a job! It was a blessing “poured,” as it were, according to the promise, from “the windows of Heaven.” It has served its purpose well in the years since.
The man says it is easy now, in retrospect, to see how the guiding process worked, when they finally stopped “beating against the wall” and trusted in Divine Law. Divine Wisdom blocked them from the ventures that would not have been wise. What seemed, at the time, to cause them unexplainable, maddening frustration was simply the Divine Law of Adjustment at work—even to the episode of the man and his wife being delayed in reaching the newspaper office, because they’d missed each other at their appointed meeting time in the department store. If they had met at the original time agreed on, they would not have arrived at the newspaper office right at the time when the other man was there.
There was a Divine Appointment awaiting, you see. Divine Wisdom knew this man and his wife were not suited for a business enterprise. Divine Wisdom knew that for them to move outside their community would have made unavailable the four-year scholarship that their daughter later received, as a resident of the city. Divine Wisdom chose the exact moment to lead this man to the right and perfect work. Well, surely, you’ll agree, as this couple agrees, that their experience was no coincidence!
When we stop frantically trying to climb over the wall by ourselves and open ourselves in faith to the Transcendent Flow of Divine Guidance, wonderful things result—things that we may even call miracles! The turning point comes when we are ready (completely ready!) to let go of human thoughts and ideas and let the Divine Plan come forth.
So, whatever appearance your trouble may be taking, when you have done all that you know to do, stand still…and let go. After you’ve “hollered”—as did little Jimmy, who was down in the pit—then relax and wait…and let go of the problem. Stop beating against the wall…and, even as it was with Jimmy, your Father will surely get you out!
© Eric Butterworth