Going Crazy to Stay Sane
Jericho… a massive fortress, a stronghold directly in the path of the promise. The children of Israel had an overwhelming obstacle to avoid or overcome. Forty years earlier, they had decisively determined to avoid the entire issue out of fear and frustration. An entire generation had suffered the consequence of their “pulling back” from God.
Now, a new generation had been prepared, one who had observed the faithfulness of God for their entire lives; to provide, protect and direct them across a harsh and uncomfortable landscape of desert and sun and heat. They were being asked to choose again what they would do, how they would react to the path that God had directed them to follow.
So at the edge of the Jordan river and still in sight of the wastelands, this new generation, lead by Joshua, determines to “trust” God and let Him work out their salvation in “His way." In doing so, they were surrendering their will for His. God’s strategy was as bizarre and odd and unusual as anyone of them could imagine. But in the end, they agreed and accepted that God, in His wisdom, did know exactly what was best, what would work and dropped their need to understand, to “know” what and why and when, and simply just decided to “trust."
God’s strategy, His perfect plan, was to march around a city for seven days with a band of priests and musicians. It contained no new cutting-edge siege style military principles to use, no cunning economic strategy to influence the inhabitants; but a never-heard tell of such – kind of solution that, on its face, it must have just seemed well… crazy.
It's clear that as followers of Christ, we are faced with the same decision today. God has directed our individual and collective lives across the barren deserts of our past, through the toxic fallout of our previous choices and descisions, and we’re longing for more than mere survival. Our circumstances around us may feel completely unchanged, but something inside of us tell us we are “close." Close to discovering the promise of hope, of peace and of contentment. We’ve wandered around in the wildnerness of our own way and have a chance to choose again, to go forward and confront the strongholds in our lives or avoid them and go back to the survival cycle we just started to leave.
What will we choose?
The patterns and cycles of our past don’t have to continue. The pain and frustrations of following God on “our terms” doesn’t have to continue to be the partially "all in” faith that we can “almost” surrender to. We can decide today, forward and through or back up and return to our past.
The children of Israel decided to trust God’s plan and not their own. They determined to allow the “crazy” strategy of God to trump their own “sane” logical evaluation of their situation. I have no idea of what life issues your struggling with, no clue what the “strongholds” in your life are, but I know mine, and I’m writing/talking to myself here.
God is calling us, to lay down our preconceptions of how He will work things out in our lives, and instead turn to Jesus as the sovereign Lord of our life. That means if we choose to surrender, He will overcome for us. The path forward is through the cross of Christ Jesus, it is the epicenter of our new reality.
Just as the nation of Israel had to submit to the process of following God through and into their promise land, so will we. The battle is the Lord's, the strategy is the Lord's, the details are the Lord's. He is simply asking for us to “believe” that He can and will remove every obstacle in our lives and free us to move forward into the future He has prepared for us.
In the gospel of Mark, chapter nine, we read this story… "And Jesus asked his father, 'How long has this been happening to him?' And he said, 'From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.' And Jesus said to him, 'If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.' Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, 'I believe; help my unbelief!'"
That’s my prayer today. For myself and for you. God help us… help us trust when it makes no sense, help us to let go when all our senses tell us to hold on and help us to believe when all our logic tell us to doubt. Help us to have a crazy faith in order to stay sane! Let’s trust that when we do, the walls of our strongholds, our Jericho, will come crashing down. It’s time for us to take the promise land once and for all.