In a book of humorous definitions by children, one small child said, “a hole is to dig.” We were in high school when the war broke out, and the first change that took place on our campus was the erection of an obstacle course which included “a wall that was to climb.”

The good athletes could run right at this wall almost full speed and with a running jump hit the wall about half-way up with one foot, while grabbing the top with both hands, and seemingly in one smooth motion vault and land on the other side. Most of us ran at the wall, hitting it with a thud that nearly knocked the wind out of us while we grabbed to get one arm over the top. Then with a series of wiggles, squirms and kicks we laboriously struggled to get both arms over, then one leg and finally straddling the wall, pulled the other leg over and jumped down the back side. There were a few who simply hit the wall, dangled helplessly for a while and finally fell back with disgust, unable to scale it at all.

The wall did not change; it was the same height for everyone. For some it was fun, for it was a challenge to be conquered. For others it was a real struggle, but eventually climbed, while for a few it was an impossible obstacle where they met certain defeat.

So it is with the obstacles of life. God wants us to overcome. Jesus actually promises us that we will have tribulation but that we should be of good cheer because he has overcome the world. In Revelation 2:26 he promises us that “he that overcometh […] to him will I give power over the nations.” Now there has to be something to overcome or we cannot overcome. The wall was to climb, our trials and tribulations are to overcome and are sent to us by a loving Father who wants us to climb over the adversities that He has placed before us for our everlasting benefit.

Understanding this principle, Paul cries out with joy, “we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts” (Rom 5:3-5).

When Paul was given a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor 12:7), he thanked God for it after he understood that God had given it to him for a purpose. Paul said that he took pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake: for when he was weak, then was he strong.

This is the attitude we should take towards the problems we face. They are allowed by God, else we would not have them. The very hairs on our head are numbered, so He knows the most intimate details of our lives. This being true, we can take what comes, for we are positive that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28).

Believing that God is in control of our lives, we take comfort that He will never give us a wall to climb that is beyond our ability to scale. In school this was not so, for some simply could not master the obstacle course. But God has promised us that we will never have a temptation beyond that which we are able to bear and He will always provide a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. This is a great comfort and should fill us with hope as we look at the walls in our lives. They can all be scaled and we can overcome. Instead of complaining about them, let us thank God for His love in providing them for us to climb.

Paul cried out, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:13) and so can we. Let us run at the walls in our lives with enthusiasm, believing that through Christ we can overcome. Let us say with Paul, “I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward, the honour of being called by God in Christ.”