The Spiritual Sledgehammer

Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Take My Life And Let It Be"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (KJV)

Joshua 6:20b – The people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. (KJV)

After living in 34 different rental accommodations, my husband and I finally managed to buy a house. Since 1840, it had been zoned commercial, with the business on the ground floor, and living space on the top floor. The upstairs had been divided into small rooms to house as many tenants as possible. The tiny kitchen, reached by a long hallway, was a dark, claustrophobic space where food went to die. After we had my bookshop set up downstairs and the bedrooms sorted out, my husband went back to work. I was left with the responsibility of setting up everything else. For the first time, there was no landlord to stop me from renovating.

I borrowed a sledgehammer and began getting rid of that hallway. Light flooded in immediately. Suddenly, more than two people could be in the kitchen at the same time. After each blow with the hammer, I swept the plaster rubble into a small bag, tied the top, and threw it out the window. Then, I went down and distributed all the bags along the sidewalk for city pickup. Squat and bulgy, the bags were reminiscent of small creatures patiently waiting for a bus. Several years later, the city manager was still angry. "I had to send an entire transport truck to pick up your debris!" he yelled. My husband was even more vocal. "How did you know that it wasn't a bearing wall?" he hollered. I could only say that I'd hoped and prayed and whacked away at the wall. What a relief never to spend another mealtime groping around in that ghastly kitchen!

We've all got our walls, those dark places inside our hearts, that prevent God's Holy Spirit from working. The walls of negative emotions — such as resentment, anger, hatred, envy, jealousy, selfish pride, doubt, despair, shame, fear, anxiety, and grief — destroy our souls and keep us from hearing God's voice. They leave us in darkness, unable to walk in the sunlight of the Spirit, our consciousness stuffed with the rubble of disobedience. We need God's gentle spiritual sledgehammer of times of communion with Him, a daily deal of prayer and action. Someone once said, If we keep doing what we're doing, we'll keep on getting what we're getting.

Which will it be: darkness behind the walls that we have put up, or light and freedom in our souls? Today, we have a choice. Will we keep on filling our hungry souls with rubble, or will we regularly come to repentance and grow in grace and understanding? Let us each join Frances Ridley Havergal in praying:

Prayer: Dear patient and loving Father, "Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose. Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne." Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A good challenge, Rose.

    Thank you. A beautiful devotional.

    34 times, wow? I cannot imagine. Blessings.

    Then may God’s light flood our souls. Blessings.

    Your words speak clearly to my heart this morning. Thank you!

    Truer words were never spoken. You inspire us to check our walls.

    So true, Rose. I’m sure God was with you in your renovation, good for you for being that brave! Blessings to you!

    Rose, your stories of your life amaze me! Thank you for sharing them and encouraging us all in our faith journey. Blessings.

    Thank you for a chuckle this morning. we are nearby and are back and forth to Kingston (hospital visits), so we feel that you are a neighbour. Thanks again.

    Oh, Rose that was my favorite song as a small child! Thanks for sharing this experience-based devotional with us. May God remove the detritus from our souls. Amen.

    Excellent thoughts! Loved the picture of the bundles along the sidewalk! Big truth!

    Satisfaction written in your face as the walls came tumbling down. Yes, we do construct many walls in our lives after disappointments and hurts.
    Luckily, there is light available.
    Thank you for a wonderful devotional.

    Thanks for sharing Rose.
    This should be our focus whenever we are before God.
    That He purify our hearts so we can see Him clearly.
    Blessings on your work.

    Dear Rose,
    Great devotional you have written. Amazing job you took on with that sledgehammer to reveal “light”. In our daily life, we too, must strive to take on the “light” of Jesus, our loving Saviour.
    Blessings for writing and sharing your experience of the renovation.

    Good morning Rose.
    I always love reading your messages.
    Thank you for this one. Which road do we take? Of course, the one that illuminates our path.

    Thank you Rose for today’s devotion.
    I enjoyed it very much.
    Yes, open our souls and heart to God’s light is the best thing one can do.
    I also love your prayer.

    Hi Rose
    Thank you for this, I enjoyed the little story too and my husband would have reacted like that also after me doing what you did.
    How true when we get rid of the litter, rubble whatever you want to call it, how much more the light shines, the more freedom we have.
    God bless and have a great week.

    Hello Rose,
    I particularly liked your devotional for today. I have been slowly taking a sledgehammer to some of my walled-up spaces and have been able to break down a good number of them. I still have some very stubborn walls that very hard to break down, but with God’s help, I will do it eventually!
    You described the issues of hidden walls very well, and I thank you and God for it. May God continue to bless you in your writing and your everyday life.

    Wow Rose!
    Quite a different aspect to consider – walls.
    So glad I am not the only one who demolished walls in the day!
    I was covered in dry wall dust and rubble around when my 6-year-old came in from school – really strangely. I went over to him and felt his head. He had a huge “goose egg”. I went to see if his little bike was outside it wasn’t. While I was getting a taxi and setting up care for 2 tinier ones a little girl came over pushing his bike. He had gone over the handlebars and hadn’t woken up!
    Fortunately, no serious damage was found. But the interesting thing was the next day was Thursday – he thought it was Wednesday and for many weeks talked about how Wednesday didn’t come that week and what had happened to it?
    Blessings Rose.

    Thank you. A beautiful devotional.

    Rose that must have been the most satisfying feeling ever, to knock down those walls.
    May we all be granted the spiritual energy to knock down the barriers that prevent us from hearing God’s voice.

    Dear Rose,
    What a burning image, taking a spiritual sledgehammer to our walls that block the light of Christ. Immediately, I thought how applicable this may be to the life of someone I know. The Holy Spirit told me that person me. I will pray for discernment. Thank you.
    You have brought blessings to my day.
    (CA USA)

    Good morning Rose,
    You have done so many things in your life. It is always a pleasure to learn a little more and to hear how you use it in your spiritual life. I learned many years ago about that you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result – a powerful lesson and has helped me in many ways. I join you in praying Havergal’s prayer for all of us. Thank you for sharing and I am glad it was not a load bearing wall. My girlfriend did do a load bearing wall and it cost her a lot to fix it. Blessings.

    Hi Rose,
    I want to thank you for your devotional.
    Some memories were jogged relating to walls.
    First was the invisible wall I had built up over years trying to protect myself. I was at a retreat when the speaker touched me in such a way that I actually visualized a brick wall being destroyed in front of me.
    I still see that wall crumbling. That was the beginning of my Christian life.
    Second, was a physical wall. As you tore down walls and the light poured in, we had kitchen renovations done and we had a wall beside the kitchen (back) door taken out. Suddenly there was so much more light in the kitchen.
    I was also reminded of the “wall” talk that is held on Kairos Prison Ministry weekends and the offshoot of Kairos, Kairos Torch (for youth). The wall is a very important talk on these weekends.
    Walls, whether physical or not, need to be broken down so the light can shine in.
    Thank you for your devotional reminding me about the walls that had been in my life.

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