Friday, 3 September 2021

The other side of the wall


September 2021

Dear Friends

Where is God when skies are darkening, relationships are not working, family members are not thriving, businesses are failing, illness is not retreating and help is not arriving?

Is he far away?  No.  “He is not far from each one of us.  `For in him we live and move and have our being.’”  (Acts 17:27-28)

Is he uninterested in us?  Nope.  “The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145:9)

Is he powerless to help us?  Na.  "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”  (Jeremiah 32:27)

Is he unkind or cruel?  No way. “I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth”  (Jeremiah 9:24)

So where is he then?

Some people were recently reminded that people they have never met live within a few feet of them.  They were near enough to someone the other side of the wall, in the next-door flat, with Coronavirus, for the NHS app to ‘ping’ them.  It is possible to live close to someone but not to know them at all because you are separated from them by a wall.

God is also the other side of a wall.   He is not unable or unwilling to rescue us but our rebellious disobedience towards him is a wall that makes him seem like a distant stranger: “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God”  (Isaiah 59:1-2)

That’s it.  God is not far away, but there is a wall of our own making.  This barrier was represented in the Jerusalem temple by a huge curtain (reckoned to be 60 feet high and 4 inches thick!) that kept people out of God’s presence. As Jesus died on the cross,  carrying the sin of the world, “the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.”  (Matthew 27:51)  The invitation was clear: put all your trust in Jesus Christ and the wall comes down, there is a way back to the one who made you.


Graham Burrows