Saturday, January 16, 2016

All Fall Down

Jericho. A city surrounded by massive walls, so massive that houses were built on them and chariots could travel side by side. Strong and impenetrable, they blocked the Israelites. Beyond lay the Promised Land, but first Jericho had to be taken. 

The walls of my personal Jericho seemed just as impenetrable, immovable.  They loomed over, casting a shadow over me. 

The Israelites were geared up to take Jericho. The mighty warriors were poised, their swords glinting in the sun. Joshua, their fearless leader stood before them to give the battle commands. Yet these were strange commands. 

They were to march once every day for six days around the city walls with the Ark of the Covenant leading. On the seventh day, they had to march seven times. They had to keep silent the whole time-no charging the city, no shouting, just silently marching. 

They certainly didn’t understand why it had to be done that way; it didn’t make sense. Yet patiently and silently, they circled the walls as commanded. On that last march around the walls, they shouted, and the immense walls fell flat. God delivered Jericho into their hands. What looked impossible became possible because of their obedience and trust in the Great I Am.

My personal Jericho was my prodigal husband. Three years into our marriage he told me that he wasn’t going to church with me anymore. He was dealing with habitual sin that was threatening to take him and our marriage down a dark path. My heart was crushed, it was so hard to accept. It hurt so badly. 

I struggled and resisted, rushing the walls with my sword, cursing them. I wanted the walls to collapse now! Yet the struggle went on, in vain for years. 

I reached a breaking point and in the end I slumped against the walls, battered and bruised. My sword was broken off at the hilt; my knuckles were bloodied. Emotionally spent, I crumpled to the ground, tears of frustration filling my eyes. 

Why won’t the walls collapse? I’ve done everything possible to make it happen. Now my strength is gone and all I’ve accomplished is to make a mess of things. 

In my despair I cried out to Jesus and I felt His sweet presence near. I felt His gentle touch. But oh, He had to be disappointed at my pitiful efforts. I botched up everything. 

He spoke kind and comforting words to me. My child, you have exhausted yourself needlessly. Are you ready to do it My way now? You cannot bring the walls down in your own strength. It is beyond your capabilities. I spoke the universe into existence; don’t you think that I can do this? All I ask you to do is circle the walls with prayer. Be patient and let Me work. Be still and know that I am God. I will deliver this city into your hands in My time and in My way. My presence will go before you. 

His strength entered my body. I felt His peace deep within. 

The walls were still standing, but they didn’t seem so intimidating anymore. My circumstances had not changed, but I had changed. My focus was on Jesus now, not on the walls, not on myself. I became determined to see this situation through, but I resolved not to rush ahead of God.

I give my husband into Your hands, I told Jesus, You take over now. I’m so weak, I can’t fix this, but You are strong and able. My confidence is in You. 

I began to bombard the walls with prayer as I circled them. I followed the battle plans God gave me, even when I didn’t understand them. I kept my eyes on the One who led me. 

At times I still messed up. I’d take my sword and rush the walls screaming. These incidents happened less frequently as my faith grew stronger. I circled the walls many times. Sometimes I felt like giving up, but Jesus always encouraged me so I could walk on unwavering. He would feed my faith through HIs Word. 

Then I began to see cracks form in the walls. This drove me to pray harder. 
One glorious day, on my final lap around the city, the walls crashed down. What seemed impossible and immovable was now flattened. I shouted with triumph to my God who promised deliverance. I learned firsthand that whatever His lips promised, His hands will perform. 

My husband’s surrender to Jesus was a miracle. It was impossible for me to break down my husband’s spiritual walls. Only Jesus could change his heart. I only had to get out of the way and let Him work. I am overwhelmed at what God has done in my husband’s life. But also what He did in me.

This was a refining tool for me. Through this my life was forever changed as well. God desired my devotion, my trust and my heart. 

Do you have a Jericho in your life? Are you failing as you try to bring the walls down? You cannot do this through your own efforts. Get out of the way and allow Him to do the impossible. Be still and know He is God. The walls will collapse. 

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