Our guest writer today, Allison Bown, is the Director of The Warrior Class—a group of amazing people who pray for me personally and for all the events that we put on as Brilliant Perspectives.
She is a great thinker, dear friend and very cool spiritual companion. I know you will love her perspectives as much as we do.
Everyone has encountered times where challenges remain challenging; where expectations don’t unfold as expected and the prayers we pray don’t seem to have an impact. What is going on during those times and how can they possibly be good?
A few years ago, I was in such a season and found myself in the book of Joshua… again.
Josh is an old friend and Jericho is one of my favorite stories. Most of us know it. Israel has finally crossed over into the Promised Land and God has given the new commander a rather ridiculous battle plan: march around this massive walled city once a day for six days while the priest and the ark of the covenant lead the way. On day seven, do it seven times. The horns will blow. The men will shout and the walls will fall.
And did I forget to mention? No talking. Not until it’s time to shout.
Seriously? This is a “plan”? It would be interesting to have seen the thought bubbles over the men’s heads when Joshua made the announcement.
As I contemplated this familiar story, I found myself asking a new question: Why was it so important that they didn’t talk?
But in classic Holy Spirit style, He didn’t answer that question directly. Instead, He pointed out what seemed to be an irrelevant detail: that Jericho’s walls didn’t crumble little by little each day. There were no signs of progress after each lap. On Day Seven, nothing (it seemed) had changed. Not a single stone or gate had shifted… not even a little.
Hmmm…. Wait a minute. What if all those initial trips around Jericho weren’t about the walls at all?
(These are the odd questions I ask of God at 2:00 a.m.)
What if the walls that were crumbling were actually inside of the warriors— not outside?
Think about it— very few of these men remembered God’s majesty in annihilating Egypt. Sure, God had parted the Jordan river for them a few days before and they had seen bits and pieces of His power in the wilderness – but this was a new landscape.
What if the time had come for each warrior to decide for himself: Who is God for me in this place?”
I think it’s possible that with every lap around Jericho, with every opportunity to stare at those massive walls that weren’t changing, each man had to ask that question. He couldn’t take an opinion poll from his friends or rely on the history of his parents. In silence, staring at the impossible, he had to determine from his own relationship with “I AM”:
Who is God to me in this Promised Land?
PS) If interested, I explore more of these kind of perspectives in “Conversations With God.”