One of the men's small groups in our church got talking about prayer stations that reflect issues and struggles men can relate to. From that conversation, but even more directly from his own life experiences, one of the men in our fellowship, Jeff, (click here to read Jeff's story) envisioned and created this station, which was not just for men, but for everyone. It consisted of a big plywood wall, painted to look like brick. Next to the wall was a stand with the following printed on it:
Once again, here I am at the wall. Sometimes I feel like I have been shoved into it, at other times I feel like I have run into it full force. Either way, here I am back at the wall. I hope that things will feel different when I am here at the wall. But, it never does.
At times I come to the wall and it brings me some relief. The relief does not last long, but I keep coming back here anyway. I feel trapped and alone. No one could have the thoughts that I do. No one could be suffering in sin and humiliation like me.
To me the wall represents something that I can not get over, through or around. It represents that bondage that keeps me from community, from real relationships and from real relief.
At times the wall is so familiar to me that I find it comforting. The wall finds no comfort in me. It is only there to destroy me. For the strength of this wall is only found in my destruction.
I wish someone would give me a sign that I am not the only one facing this wall.
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1st Corinthians 10:13
The same verse was painted in big letters over the whole expanse of the 8' x 8' wall, with other words inserted to amplify the meaning. For instance, near the words "a way out" were lettered "red light," "a door," "phone call," and "rescue."
On the stand near-by were pens, a glue stick, and small slips of paper, on which were printed:
I am tempted by ___________
just like everyone else.
It was an invitation to each of us to fill in the blank with our own personal areas of temptations, and stick it on the wall, identifying ourselves with the rest of humanity in our capacity to be tempted, and in that revelation, also identifying ourselves with the truth of God's faithful provision of release and relief in temptation, as stated in the verse.
I put "fear," and was reminded again this morning of how I can live in anxiety regarding tomorrow, or next week or next month, when I am not trusting God in the moment, today.
Over the week we watched the wall fill up with these small, and yet huge, proclaimations, as words and phrases like, "anger," "selfishness," "pride," "things," "other people's acceptance," "food," and "fear" begin to cover the wall. Many of the areas of temptation of course were repeated, and some were unique; but there was a universality in the sense of struggle and also freedom in "putting it up there," even anonomously. I imagine for some it was perhaps the first time they had taken an opportunity to put their personal areas of temptation into words, even to themselves.
Take a moment to read back over "THE WALL." Imagine you had access to one of those little slips of paper. What would you put? Trust God and someone else today enough to "put it out there," knowing that you are not alone in your temptation, and that the next time you are tempted, He will provide a way out.