Garland Bare is a friend of mine and he has been for twenty-five years. I first met Garland at Rock Lake Christian Assembly. We were faculty members for High School Week. Over the years we have connected in a variety of settings. I don’t know if God blessed him with great faith or his great faith was learned in the “trenches.” He is a former missionary, a retired medical doctor, and faithful follower of Jesus.
When we had Garland speak at campus ministry retreats, we would have him begin on Friday evening by giving his testimony. It was powerful! He would share how he grew up as a missionary kid, how he walked away from God for a while, and how God brought him back. He would speak of the phenomenal things God has done in his life. Things like:
- by faith not asking for financial support and how God provided
- by faith obtaining a medical degree when it totally impossible
- by faith choosing to be a surgeon even though his hands shook
- by faith picking up a scalpel for the first time and his hands stopped shaking immediately
- by faith obeying God’s prompting to stop his car going up a hill only to discover a water buffalo standing in the road on the other side of the hill
- by faith leaving the mission field because his daughter needed help not available there
and many other examples.
He would end his presentation with this statement: “Our God does not lead through open doors; He leads through stone walls.”
Garland’s example of great faith has impacted my faith tremendously. Isaiah 22:22 says:
I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.
This passage is repeated to the Church in Philadelphia in Revelation 3:7. We derive from this passage that God can open and close doors for us. He most definitely can, but it stirs my faith to picture God leading through stone walls.
Jesus said to the father of the demon possessed son in Mark 9,
“Everything is possible for him who believes.”
He also said after the rich young ruler left in Mark 10,
“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God”
There are at least three benefits to living as if we have a God who leads through stone walls.
1. God has the freedom to use us in broader ways for His purposes
2. other Christians will be inspired to live with greater faith
3. unbelievers will want our God
God receives glory in every case. Wow! Our God is big and He is powerful!
Here is the application.
What stone wall is sitting in front of you?