God gave David victory over Saul and all of his enemies and David sang in praise to the Lord, “With my God I can leap over a wall!” (Psalm 18:29, par)
We love to leap over a wall!
But what happens when we can’t climb the wall or get around it? A sickness keeps us in bed. We can’t resolve an emotional problem or relational conflict. Someone says no and won’t budge. We have to wait for the right timing. We all know the feeling of being stuck.
It’s part of our Leadership training for Christ to have our great visions and energies for ministry thwarted. Sometimes God doesn’t help us leap over a wall. Sometimes it seems he wants us to be stuck.
Why God May Want You to be Stuck
Charles Spurgeon was one of the greatest preachers of the 19th Century and yet he struggled with Depression. His depression drove him to seek God and he drew closer to the Lord and became more compassionate toward others who were suffering. It’s no wonder that his sermons are still preaching to hundreds of people every day! He said,
A gentleman once asked a friend, concerning a beautiful horse of his, feeding about the pasture with a clog on it’s foot, “Why do you clog such a noble animal?”
“Sir,” said he, “I would a great deal sooner clog him than lose him: he is given to leap hedges.” [A clog probably reminds you of a backed up pipe, but in this case a clog is a heavily weighted shoe that’s put on the foot of a horse to keep it from running off.]
That is why God clogs his people. He would rather clog them than lose them; for if he did not clog them, they would leap the hedges and be gone. They need a tether to prevent their straying; and their God binds them with afflictions, to keep them near to him, to preserve them, and to have them in his presence. (Bright Days, Dark Nights: with Charles Spurgeon in triumph over emotional pain, by Elizabeth Ruth Skoglund, p. 20-21)
Waiting and Leaping — With Jesus!
Have you been clogged? Sometimes being humbled by a problem we can’t solve is a good thing for us. Sometimes being slowed down or prevented from serving God is just what we need. God may use the Trials of our life and ministry to teach us his wisdom and grow our character so that we’re more patient and kind toward others. Mostly, he clogs us because he wants to be close to us. That’s how much our Lord loves us!
Later when we’ve learned to be still and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10) then we’ll be ready to have the clog taken off of our foot and to leap the hedges! But then it won’t be the leaping of impulsiveness or ambition. We won’t be running off on our own trying to make something happen, stepping on people along the way or getting stressed out and exhausted.
Instead we’ll be leaping the hedges with Jesus!
It Takes Practice to Wait Well
Truth be told, we can’t leap over a wall or accomplish great things for the Lord unless we’re doing them with the Lord. Intimacy with Jesus needs to be our first priority and ministry our second priority. “Abide in me,” Jesus said, “and you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5, par).
It takes practice to wait on God and to learn to do this with Jesus — lovingly, joyfully, and peacefully. Jesus himself learned this. For instance, the Father had him wait eighteen years in Nazareth before launching his public ministry. (See “Rejoicing on a Mundane Monday.“)
I’ve learned that it’s best if I learn to put the clog on my own foot for a little while! So I’ve written a little prayer of heart from Psalm 130 that helps me to pause from my activity to delight in the Lord who delights in me: “My Soul Waits on the Lord.” (This is one of the prayers in “Simple Prayers of the Heart.”)