Thursday, April 5, 2012

This is JERICHO: (7) Up From the Ashes We Rise

March 4, 2012: 8:56 PM - Day 7
 The kids were fresh from their showers and ready for bed. I felt like some cool dad leading his kids on a covert mission. We stood in the living room, 5 strong as I read Joshua chapter 6. There is significance in believing the words of God enough to put feet to faith. We talked about how Jericho was too big, the walls were too high, the gate was shut tight, and the numbers were simply too great. And yet... God told Joshua that the battle was already won.

Are our lives really all that different? Does God not promise to each of us that the battle is already won? Are we not all told that He has gone to prepare a place for us? He has made a way for us when there was no other way. I want this night to be a night that my kids remember for the rest of their lives. I hope that tonight is a foundation for their belief. I pray that God can use this moment for His glory to shine light on belief that will shape behavior for generations.

We stepped outside, me in the front, Caleb with his trumpet, Aleksandra with her recorder, and Kellie snuggling Sterling. The air was cool and fresh. The wind in the trees was quiet. It was as if the world was holding its breath. I took a moment and simply stared up at the night sky. The clouds from the day had dissipated and the stars stood in shimmery contrast to the dark expanse. I smiled as I imagined Joshua staring up at the sky on the seventh day, pausing a moment before he began walking around that city.

I stooped down and I picked up 7 small stones. I wanted to make sure that I didn't miscount our circuits, and I also wanted to symbolize each pass. I held them in my hand as we began to walk. We had agreed that we would be silent as we made our first 6 laps. In the story of Joshua, the high priests were blowing the trumpets as they walked... but I explained to the kids that having the police called to our house and having me being arrested for disturbing the peace would not be representative of the story. So we agreed that we would wait until the completion of the 7th lap, at which point we would sound our "trumpets" and let loose a mighty roar!

As we passed out of the back yard, stepping into the northern side of the house, I paused to fully open the gate. As it arched out, the bottom of the gate rested securely against the ground. We passed through and turned the corner to the front yard. My parent's car sat in our driveway!

I was thrilled! My mom had mentioned that she wanted to join us on our final night, but for some reason I just really didn't expect that she would make it. It was late and I was sure that she'd had a full day just like us. I figured by now her and dad were eating popcorn and watching America's Funniest Home Videos on Netflix.

I noticed in Mom's hand... a ram's horn. They didn't come just to watch, they came to participate! They came in support, and by belief. I smiled as I passed them and said, "Come on, we are on our first circle."

As we passed back to where we first took those first steps of faith, I selected one of the small stones and flicked it towards the doors leading into the family room. It made a satisfying "click" as it bounced off of the pane of the sliding glass door. We had completed our first lap. I led the group in silence, praying with each step that God continue to guide our path, that we continue to listen for his voice, that we never stop following Him, and that we are open to His solutions. I had an awareness deep within that God does not always answer prayers in ways that we expect. 

I also imagined how my children would remember this night. Would they tell people about the night their dad dragged them out into the night in their pj's to march around the house and wake the neighbors with a blast and a shout? 

I was aware of their eyes on my back... as I understood that they watch my walk every day, every moment. In my best times, in my worst times, and in my everyday times.  I want them to see truth in my steps. I know I have a long way to go. I thought about the things I need to work on... patience, compassion, empathy, understanding. I prayed that God keeps me aware, and that he pushes me to be better. A lot depends on my walk.

I was humbled that my parents were following along behind me. I prayed that they continue to follow us... all the way to Guate! (Hi mom & dad... do you have your passports yet?)

And so... we walked under the still sky, through the freshly mowed grass as a family united in faith and belief. Each time I passed the glass door I bounced another small stone from its surface, hearing the soft report of our passing. Somehow, with each lap my emotions grew stronger, and my heart quickened. I need to tell you... I am a true believer. I have found God to be true. I know that He is greater than my circumstance. I have seen His hand move mountains before. I am sure in His calling. I am clear with my vision. This is about His glory, so that He can be seen making a way for a family that He has chosen to share life with others who, like us... are the least of these.

I looked back to Caleb & Aleksandra and knew that they felt it too. They gripped their instruments tightly.

We passed through the gate at the north side of the house. It was still securely wedged into the ground. As I turned the corner to the front of the house, my father was the last of us to pass the gate. He stepped clear of the gate... and the wind gusted and slammed it shut. I can still vividly hear the sound of the steel lock slamming into the wood as the latch dropped into place.

Call it what you will... but for me, it is only one thing. My God is with me. He knows our steps, and He closed the gate. Our obedience is noticed. Our faith has meaning. What we do matters. Never doubt that.

We completed the final circle as I tossed the final stone. I turned to my family and simply said, "now."

They lifted the trumpet, the recorder, and the ram's horn to their lips... and they BLEW A MIGHTY SOUND! It lasted a good 5 seconds... it was IMPRESSIVE!

But I could not hold back... before the blast ended I was already SHOUTING! This was the moment to celebrate what God has already done! I continued to belt out a wordless sound that I pushed from the tips of my toes out the end of my face! 

And then the night was again silent. We wait on the Lord. 
Nunca Cansado. The God will provide.

Get your passport ready.

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