A story can reveal the inner thoughts of a person. The one reading the story if she will takes the time to allow the words to sink in. The writer of the story, if she is true and allows honesty to flow out. This is the case set before you. The new year is almost three weeks old. The excitement of resolutions, a new adventure in a new year may still be running strong. In a short while, it is possible you will run smack dab into an unexpected hard WALL, as you are engaged in the wonder around you. You hit your nose very hard. How will you respond? Is the adventure still there? Are you excited about the walk? Do you complain about the WALL? Follow PAN in her path.
PAN welcomes this walk, this new adventure. The steps are not too challenging, just enough to make it exciting. The adrenaline begins to flow throughout her body. Looking around, PAN takes in sights and beauty never seen before. The sounds are unbelievable as if she enters another world. Deep blue rushing waters, rock formations expressing a special type of awesomeness all their own. Green leafy trees reaching to the sky with praise.
The most thrilling part of all is talking with the Creator. PAN cannot believe anything could be more overwhelming.
Suddenly a brick wall smashes with PAN’s nose.
” OUCH,” PAN, yelled as she jumped back with surprise.” Where did this brick wall come from? I thought I was watching where I was going. Bam this thing comes out of nowhere.”
As PAN continues rubbing her very bruised nose, tears begin to form. Looking towards the sky, Pan has a verbal conversation with the One who moments earlier caused her Joy and Delight.
Rather defiantly Pan says, “ I thought you were all knowing. Didn’t You see the WALL? It surely is big enough. Why did you lead me down this path? You made me run right into a huge WALL. Now my poor nose is very painful. Not very protective of You!!!”
The area grows dark. The sun’s rays seem to fade with each word of protest, each complaint coming out of PAN’s mouth. The wonderful excursion suddenly turned sour. The joyful give and take between PAN and the One she trusted is slowly becoming bitter.
“ The words initially drawing me to You promised protection. Wasn’t there something about ‘ Leading me by still waters,?’ and ‘ Peace that passes understanding?’ Instead, You lead me right into a brick wall letting me hit my nose, causing pain. Plus, I have no peace. I am frustrated because there is no way going forward through this. “ An angry body points to the stony barrier.
These are viscous words verbalized. Inside her mind, Pan has what she thinks is a private conversation with herself. She figures God cannot or will not go into this secret area. Her true feelings of fear, rejection and despair are exposed. In PAN’s former life, these types of conversations were common.
Shaking her head, talking herself again into a false sense of bravery PAN thinks,‘ I guess I need to figure out how to do this myself. He does not really care. Nobody cares. Not really. Who was I trying to fool? Nice adventure at the start, but I knew it was too good to be true. This is my life. Always was. Always will be.”
With a dejected shrug, PAN resolved to figure something out.
Although the bright sunshine had never really left the sky, The darkness was larger,always covering PAN. She was becoming, more fretful and anxious. The Wall seemed to drain PAN’s inner joy, peace and contentment from her very soul. PAN was feeling helpless and out of control.
Realizing she could not handle these circumstances any longer on her own Pan started another conversation with God. PAN’s attitude was far from gracious.
“God’, PAN begins in a less than humble tone walking around with her hands going up and down, ‘I read Your book! I know what it says You can do. Why aren’t You doing it?” : A childish, temper tantrum is forming.
“You are all powerful. You called me on this journey. THIS ADVENTURE. Part these bricks like You did the Red Sea.”PAN spouts the words as spoiled child having a temper tantrum. ” Make a way for me to walk through the bricks. I know I am not being chased by Pharaoh, but I have been here FOREVER. You are in the business of miracles, right? Let’s see something happen!!! “
With each uttered word the cloud overhead became darker and heavier.
God is ever patient. God is extremely kind. He is slow to anger. He knows the desires of our heart. He knows our needs.
A fight inside and out is wearing PAN thin. The soul initially crying out to God in need for His connection is crying out now in need of food, in need of water, in need of love.
The Holy Spirit is tenderly wooing PAN.
Through gritted teeth, but less anger, PAN looked upward again. ” OK, I recognize this is not going to be easy, but I cannot go forward on my own. I am stuck on this side. What am I going to do?”
The cloud seemed to lose a bit of its heaviness. The sky was not quite as dark. The bright sunshine and blue sky was still hidden.
PAN’s eyes went to the wall again where she saw a blackish shadow. Was it always there? Was it alive? Was it part of the WALL?
Very hesitantly PAN walked over to the shadow. Realizing the blackish thing was lifeless, she bent to examine it. This was a huge sloppy bag.
Lifting the old bag was impossible. Grabbing the zipper foot, PAN hoped to see a sledgehammer in the bag.
The zipper was long across the whole bag. Slowly pulling the back opening, PAN saw two strange items inside: a very heavy rope and a strange looking hook.
Pulling her head back in dismay, PAN holds up her hands asks, “What the heck am I to do with these? Are you kidding? “
PAN’s tone lost the adventure it held at the beginning of her walk. Scared and defensive are her true feelings.
For the first time, since PAN hit her nose, she decides to seriously examine the Wall. Although large and wide these were two thoughts. Going around is impossible Going over would be difficult, but doable.
Something else was apparent. Others had been here before. Marks were on the wall looking like indentations. Had someone been here before?
“HMMM. Interesting , “ PAN observed rubbing her chin .
“Oh My GOSH!!!” This is heavy!!! “ Grunted PAN as she first grabbed the rope. PAN lost her balance not expecting the weight.
Standing again, PAN calmed herself, grabbed the rope and swung the rope. The rope was many inches thick. The hook was very heavy. The hook moved high and hit the wall with a horrible thud. Sadly, it came nowhere near the top.
In desperation, PAN stretched her arms. Trying to remember yoga stretches and calisthenics, PAN did a few to limber her body to better swing the heavy rope and hook.
“I am just a bit out of shape. Just a little warm up. That’s all. I will get it this time. No problem.”
Over and over and over her head the rope went. Away it flew. Thud against the side of the wall the hook collided.
“THIS CANNOT BE SO HARD. Are there gloves in the bag? Maybe I am letting go too soon. Let me check”
Looking into the huge bag, another sigh of disappointment rose. No gloves.
PAN remembers from past movies and true life stories, the sheer rush of adrenaline in times of desperation will cause fantastic amounts of excess strength beyond normalcy.
“That’s what I need. A sheer rush of adrenaline to put that hook on top. I could not be any more desperate. I will mentally give myself a rush flowing to the rope to fly high enough to make the hook fasten on top. That’s it. Calm PAN. Think it. It Will Happen”
PAN felt very relaxed as she walked over to the heavy rope and hook. With every muscle in her body she hurls the rope, but to no avail. One tip catches the top, but is not enough to stay the entire hook. As PAN yanks the rope to test its strength, the total hook comes loose falling to the ground.
As the rope falls to the ground PAN falls to the ground in utter despondency.
“God”, the tone of a child recognizing her complete need, a repentant child longing to sit on her Papa’s lap, “I cannot do this”.
A tender “I know”,is the response. These words are not ones of rejection, shame or anger. “Take the rope again.”
With this tender encouragement, PAN receives strength from the One She Can Trust. Going beyond the doubt in her own strength, PAN takes the rope one more time. Moving to the place of the three previous failed attempts, PAN expresses in gracious tones to the One Who is in Control, “Please Papa, Be My Strength”.
PAN closes her eyes. The huge rope is swung three or four times. PAN lets the rope fly with the hook aiming to the top of the wall. Instead of a dull thud, PAN heard a different noise. A loud clink, possibly something caught. Scared to believe this truly happened, but needing to trust, PAN went closer to the Wall. With hopeful wide eyes, PAN examined the rope. It was hanging straight down. PAN grinned.
“God. I am afraid to pull it to see if it will hold my weight. I rejected the times to hear You. I did not want to take the time to listen to your voice. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”
PAN gave the rope a very strong tug. The hook did not come lose. It would hold. PAN felt giddy. She grabbed the rope. Slowly hand over hand; she placed her feet where others ascended before. The climb was slow, difficult and challenging. PAN was not climbing on her own strength.
As PAN scaled the wall, the cloud was slowly vanishing.
Healthy conversations between God and PAN are now taking place instead of childish accusations and complaints.
Upon reaching the top of the wall, God asked PAN to throw the hook back down the first side.
A slight fear crept into PAN. “How do I get down? I have to pull the rope up and then put it to the other side to climb down. Do You see how high this Wall is? I can’t jump.”
God is so patient. He lovingly shakes His head. Gently He leads PAN to another grappling hook and rope. God describes this second side set up is for the people who climbed the Wall and are ready for the next step in their journey.
“God, is this the same journey for everyone? I thought I was on a special path with You. “
“My Daughter, I know the exciting journey for you in My Kingdom. You are unique. Your response is truly yours. Many will walk similar paths, but no one will have your exact same journey with Me. The Wall was hard. It is part of the adventure.”
PAN was confused as she slowly descended the wall.
As PAN’s feet hit the ground, she broke into tears. “I was terrible. I was a brat. I was childish. I was controlling. I did not trust you. How can you want me to continue on this Adventure?”
Nodding His head, God was very kindhearted in His response. “Yes, you were my Child. The Wall is a slice of the journey. It is here to disclose the negative portions in your heart. Those negative portions will keep you from enjoying the deeper realms of the Adventure in My Kingdom. You allowed me to expose and release you from those portions.
“My Joy is you saying Yes to Me , PAN. There will be other challenges. I will never leave you. Nor forsake you. Come, Take My Hand. Lets Continue.”
God never leaves. In times of desperation and silence, in times of unpredictable challenges, how do you respond? Even Job in the Old Testament when he felt completely abandoned by God in his peril, Job was not alone.
Take His Hand.