If walls could talk, they would say, “Stay strong and keep going!”
Seeing as I am now Jericho’s crumbled reminder of the once-fortified fortress, this may sound moot, but after what transpired, I’m too excited to be distressed! Despite my current status, big things are happening here. Breakdowns have a reputation for being negative, yet I wonder how one can have a breakthrough without one. Furthermore, what doors will open once the walls come down?
No, this is not a sermon. I’m here to encourage you.
Our doubts need to be conquered before our dreams can be real. That is what I learned watching Joshua, the personally appointed successor to Moses. (Yes, that Moses!) Courageous and firm in his faith, the charismatic warrior Joshua had helped the great leader lead the entire nation of Israel out of captivity. The Promised Land was more than a military conquest; it was a divine assignment. The Red Sea parted, manna came from Heaven, and the tribes found guidance by clouds during the day and pillars of fire by night to bring them there. Remarkable! Only the Israelites doubted this plan. Thus, they wandered the wilderness for forty years. Forty years! And it was right there for the taking!
Joshua and his people were a cake in the oven, a child in the womb, a chubby grub destined to emerge from its cocoon. Yes, the twelve tribes of Egypt had hopes for the future and positive transformations but were afraid of Canaan’s armies and sporadic conflict with the inhabitants. I saw them. I heard them. The soldiers were too strong, the swift Jordan River was too dangerous, and I, the 13-foot high manmade monstrosity with watchtowers, was deemed too massive to scale. Impossible. Such a barrage of emotions would distract anyone. The proverbial tug-of-war between flesh and spirit was at its apex. If ever there was a time for intervention, it was now. It took some convincing and holy correspondence, but Joshua and his people became organized, equipped themselves accordingly, and crossed the Jordan River (whose waters had miraculously ceased to flow) to surround their future home. They remained camped out, waiting for a way into the city. Even I was curious as to if or how it could be done. As it turns out, where swords and shields would not thwart me, faith could. (Notice I said faith and not religion.) Faith seems to be a beautiful, untapped source of power that is often forgotten.
The Lord had instructed Joshua and his people to march around the city once every day for six days, with seven priests carrying trumpets made out of ram’s horns. I was skeptical but rather liked the idea of a parade. Yet a performance it was not, for as the Canaanite soldiers laughed, blisters, bunions, sweat, and the elements robbed those marching of their energy. It was difficult to watch and, quite frankly, made me nervous. This marching went on every day for six days, and for six days, nothing happened. Yet the Israelites kept the faith.
Then on the seventh day, Joshua and his people did something completely different. As they traveled around me, the priests blew long blasts on the ram’s horns, and Joshua’s people cried out to the Heavens in celebration! Otherworldly forces shot across the sky like lightening, splitting the horizon with sacred sounds. I can’t explain it, but the tumult of all that praise shook me to my core and brought me to the ground. Did it hurt? No. It was, in fact, riveting! That’s why I can’t wait to see what happens next!
We live in an imperfect world where all have walls to march around. You will be tested, your enemies may laugh, and you might become frustrated or make excuses as to why you cannot continue. But fret not! Trial and error, setbacks, teachable moments, experimentation, and discovery are the building blocks of this long, non-linear journey of life. You won’t be left to wander forever, yet you must choose to march for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh time. Your promised purpose exists beyond these walls, and you can triumph through faith, patience, and obedience. Surrender the shame or self-doubt that burdens you, and abandon your fixed mindset so that you may grow and learn. I promise you will be better and stronger.