In life, all of us experience debilitating experiences that hinder our spiritual lives, leaving us feeling stuck and with no plan of escape. Though we sometimes want to define these unbearable circumstances as walls, according to Ryan Rush, they’re not the source of our true immobility. According to Rush, a true “wall” is not a physical or emotional circumstance, but rather “an unhealthy mind-set that keeps you from living life as God intends” (21). Rush’s text seeks to define these walls, shows how to break through them by the power of God’s promises, and articulates how to live as a “wall-breaker.” Though it sometimes reads like a self-help book, Walls simply encourages correct, biblical thinking that moves us beyond our temporal circumstances and brings us closer to God. The goal of breaking through these walls is not simply liberation, but rather “to know God himself, to experience the intimacy with him that is the ultimate fulfillment” (100).
The backbone of Walls is Rush’s personal trial revolving around the first years of his daughter’s life, which were marked by a serious illness. This story is the inspiration for the book and is the source of Rush’s passion for helping people defeat their own walls.
Rush is “convinced that there is a whole new world awaiting those who are courageous enough to face their walls head-on, deal with them honestly, and take the steps toward a Faith Breakthrough” (18). Rush argues that tearing down walls “starts with a discovery of God’s promises: discovering a passage or promise that you can hold onto and trust God for to make a Faith Breakthrough in the near days to come. A promise that can prove to be the turning point in your life and life story” (107-108). He includes several biblical passages and promises that tear down walls such as disappointment, perfectionism, and doubt (104-107).
Throughout the book, Rush includes heart-wrenching stories of people within his own church who experienced Faith Breakthroughs by holding onto these promises of God. Besides contemporary examples, Rush looks to figures within Scripture who were delivered from their own walls, such as Abraham, the paralytic in Mark 2, and King Josiah. Though these stories are compelling and educative, their frequency within the book causes the book to be a bit verbose. Some chapters might have been much more concise and still have been just as effective.
Instead of championing a gospel of self-help, Rush champions the Word of God as the true source of libera- tion from sinful and oppressive mindsets. He discusses a parishioner who sought to claim God’s promise of being debt-free, to which Rush responds, “Where is that prom ise?” and describes what promises God has given pertaining to financial provision (79). Elsewhere, he notes, “Sometimes passages become so familiar that we forget their incredible power,” referring to James 1:2-3 (155).
Though applicable to all Christians, Rush’s work seems to have the family in mind. The true stories he tells between several chapters revolve around spiritual breakdowns and breakthroughs in families. He includes a chapter on raising children to be “wall-breakers” (223- 239), in which he notes that “teaching our children about love, grace, walls, and promises can awaken our homes to an entirely new level of joy and peace” (238). Families will benefit from this work as they seek to cling to the promises of God.