Just beyond the wall

Walking jacketless on a February morning is a welcome surprise.

I am on a back street in Florida, hoofing my way to a three-day session I’ll be working. It’s going to be a demanding week in a month of heavy travel.

But I have opted to walk because, literally and figuratively, I don’t want to be so driven. This walk is the tiny window in my wall of work where I get to notice the world around me.

How fitting it is, then, that for a block, I am following a wall. It’s hard not to observe the impressive line of curled iron prongs, guarding the top against intruders. This is a barrier serious about its business of keeping people out.

I meditate on this. Work, lately, has been like a wall for me. Once I get focused on the task at hand, everything unrelated gets pushed away. Including Jesus. It’s not intentional, nor malicious – simply the tyranny of concentration. But it bothers me.

I picture Jesus, standing just over the wall of my attention, saying:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)

I want to have that door always open.

A little later, I come across some wonderful tree roots, reaching like fingers into the dark soil. They start me thinking that maybe my concept of opening a door needs to be adjusted. The metaphor needs to change.

What I need is to be so rooted in his love and presence that I don’t need to interrupt my focus to open a door to Jesus in the middle of my day. Instead, I need his thoughts and priorities to soak up into everything I do.

Maybe the right word is permeate. On my flight in, I took this rather hazy photo of the shoreline of an estuary. What caught my eye is how the water seems to visibly soak into the shoreline.

That’s what I want my relationship with Jesus to do: permeate my day. So that even in the midst of my focused work, his character saturates me. So that a subterranean communion continues throughout the day, even if it only occasionally bubbles into conscious thought.

Maybe the best way past a wall is under it.

Lord, how we desire to have you permeate our days. We want our devotional time with you to be just the start of an ongoing day-long dialogue. Will you, through the Holy Spirit, overcome our unintentional walls? We invite you in.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And if you liked this, please use the buttons above to share it!

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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