Sunday, June 4, 2017

June 4

II Samuel 22:21-23:23; Acts 2:1-47; Psalm 122:1-9; Proverbs 16:19-20

“With my God I can scale a wall” (II Sam. 22:10b) are words that speak of a seemingly impossible feat. I don’t see how anyone can scale a wall, much less I who am chubby and neither dexterous nor flexible.

But I do remember learning to scale down a wall when we lived in Austin. We were having Survival Camp on our new church property. The beautiful seventy-five acre plot of virgin land hadn’t been cleared yet and it was the perfect opportunity to bring our elementary kids onto the property and provide some adventures for them and some Bible lessons. We laid out a map of the property as a facsimile of Israel’s conquest of the land of the Philistines. We gathered as tribes on the first morning of Camp, and together we ‘crossed the Jordan River’ which, OK, I admit, was a small stream on the land, but hey, it was water and we all crossed it on our way into the ‘Promised Land’.

One of the adventures we offered for the 5th and 6th grade kids was rappelling. Two trained college men who had led rappelling at another camp were in charge of this.  We thought that some of us leaders should try rappelling first, before we asked the kids to use their courage and try it. And that is how I came to be at the top of a cliff in a harness, anchored to the top, and terrified to scale a cliff in reverse, by traversing down the vertical drop.

Little did those around me know that I was facing a wall in my own life that I needed to scale. I needed courage, just as we were going to teach the kids at Camp. Down I went with my heart pounding.

The wall I faced that day was the unwelcome task of moving 1500 miles away from our home and church in Austin to an unknown future in La Mirada, CA. I needed God to “arm me with strength” and “make my way perfect”. I knew He was the only one who could “make my feet like the feet of a deer” and “enable me to stand on the heights” (II Sam. 22:33-34).

I have called on this verse again in the several decades that have passed since I rappelled that limestone cliff. I have found obstacles that seemed too big to conquer, yet as I prayed these words and took courage from them, with God’s help I learned that I can scale a wall. The wall may be sorrows in my children’s lives, and the truth is that I can’t change their choices nor can I not suffer when they suffer. But I can endure. I can even have victory as I climb the wall of fear and doubt with God’s help.

The wall that you are called to climb may be suffering, it may be financial stress, it may be an incurable illness or the loss of a spouse or even the loss of a child. It may be an unsatisfying job or an unresponsive spouse. To climb the wall, we start with this truth: “It is God who arms me with strength and make my way perfect” (II Sam. 22:33).

Then we will be in the mode of David’s mighty men like Josheb-Basshebeth who killed 800 men with his spear in one encounter! Or the three men who risked their lives to bring David water from his favorite well which was behind enemy lines. Or Benaiah who braved a lion in a snowy, slippery pit to save the water supply of the city (II Sam. 23:8, 16, 20). These men risked their lives by their brave actions to honor David their King.

“Lord, may we be willing to risk our lives, our comfort, our futures to honor You, our King. May we be like the early church in devoting ourselves to Your Word, to fellowship and prayer, and to selling out possessions to give to those in need (see Acts 2:42-45). Give us courage to scale the wall that is before us today, I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.”

- Nell Sunukjian

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1 comment:

  1. "To climb the wall, we start with this truth: 'It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect' (II Sam. 22:33)." Such a great reminder and truth, mom. I remember that wall too, but more as a terrific adventure! Also, how cool is it that we get to read about Pentecost on the same day that Pentecost falls this year!