put on those hard hats

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”
Isaiah 58:11-12, NIV

Um, I don’t know about you, but that sounds awesome. I want these things to be true about me! If I take these verses alone, put them on a fancy background and pin it on Pinterest, I’m inspired, man!

But wait, what’s the verse before this?

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”
Isaiah 58:10, NIV

Wait, I have to do what? “No, but God, I want the blessing that you promised!” we say.

We need to be and do these things before the blessing. God wants to bestow us with glory, and the strength to repair broken walls, but in order to repair broken walls, I need to have practiced already by repairing broken people and knowing what a broken wall feels like.

I too often break people, rather than repair them.
I point my finger, speak maliciously, ignore those in need, and don’t seem to spend myself enough on the behalf of others.

How can God trust me with repairing a “wall”, if I can’t keep my mouth shut about someone for five minutes?

I’ve never rebuilt a wall or been a restorer of streets with dwellings. (Heck, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word, “dwelling.”)
How can I expect to walk up to a pile of bricks and be a professional bricklayer?
It takes muscle memory. This is something that is built through seemingly small tasks.

It’s like in that new Karate Kid remake with Jaden Smith that everyone hated, but tolerated because it’s Will Smith’s kid and Jackie Chan is in it.
Every day, fake karate kid puts his jacket on, takes his jacket off, puts it on, takes it off (wax on, wax off…).
He gets fed up one day and tells Mr. Jackie Chan Miyagi that he’s giving up.
Then, Jackie Chan starts fighting him, and Fresh Karate Kid Prince uses the moves he used to take his jacket off and put it back on.
He had developed a muscle memory that would train him for future fights.

In the same way, I need to quit oppressing people, begin spending myself (real talk: sometimes money is the easy way out, you gotta get your hands dirty too) on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then I will become a Repairer of Walls, I will be like a well-watered garden, the Lord will strengthen my frame, and my light will shine in the darkness.

I must experience some of my own broken walls, begin to see the broken walls of others and start to repair them. God has already called us “Repairers of Walls” because He sees the best in us and has been preparing us in advance to be that.  Start today by speaking well of others, helping wherever you see a need (even if it inconveniences you), put on those hard hats and start “repairing walls!”

Anyone else feeling a little sore after that butt-kicking, or just me?

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