Monday, April 2, 2012

This is JERICHO: (4) Just Keep Walking

Front door pane, no flash, image inverted

The walk was somehow longer tonight. The enthusiasm from just a day ago had bled out. My reluctant steps plodded through the grass and my mind wandered through the events of the day and what could be. Prayer seemed fake and forced, and so I muttered something about thankfulness and then allowed my mind to quiet. There was lightning flashing from the southwest, and even the dogs were silent. 

I opened the back gate and began walking towards the front. A car creeped into our culdesac and slowly navigated the circle. I felt exposed and self-conscious as the headlights found me and then sat on me. I stared back through the windshield and held my ground. The car slowly began to move, and then it drove away. I looked back toward the house and noticed light from the kitchen shining through the glass panels in the front doors. It seemed to me that there must be meaning in this experience, but I abandoned the idea and turned to walk away. A concrete angel observes all from atop a brick wall. She was backlit by the night sky. Again... I felt like there was something here for me to learn, but not at the moment.

My mind was on overdrive. Scenarios were running in the background. I was considering solutions for issues at work in the coming week, I was weighing the benefits of treating my lawn with week killer before the dandelions popped up, against the rapid growth that the mixed in fertilizer would cause and the subsequent increase in mowings. I was annoyed by my poor ability to keep my eyebrows trimmed, and the elephant that I kept trying to avoid as I trudged through the yard continued to stop right in front of me. I kept stubbing my brain against him.

The family that was considering to lease our house turned us down for another property. The image in my mind of placing the keys in his hands as our families smiled and celebrated together was nothing but imagination. I realized that I was sulking, but I just kept wallowing in it. It was as if the elephant had dropped a pile of giant poop and I had fallen smack into the middle of it. And I decided to just lay there for a moment. 

I looked up and saw the lights shining from inside of Jericho and my thoughts evacuated from the moment. Pachyderms & walled cities were just too much.

I needed shift my paradigm. I thought of a moment from earlier in the day.

We had one of those experiences today that was perfect like a movie scene. I had made some repairs to the kids swingset fort and Sterling was enjoying her first solo swing ride. Her big sister Aleksandra was by her right side and Sterling kept looking over at her and filling the air with big hearty full voiced baby laughs! This is a wonderful sound. Kellie stood next to me and was gently giving the swing motion with an easy touch and push.

Aleksandra said, "this summer is going to be simply perfect in our backyard."

Her statement brought me back to Jericho. This time I was better prepared for looking up at those walls. My daughters saw today more clearly than I did. The sun had been bright and given color to the day, the breeze was warm, and we laughed and played together as a family. This summer is going to be simply perfect, wherever our backyard may be. 

This past week has felt like a series of tests to me. I have had reasons to abandon our vision land in my lap. A job that I have pursued for several years and repeatedly failed to attain... suddenly opened up to me. I turned it down. Our family is now fully together after a six year journey to bring them all together. And we seek to leave the country. We have been married 16 years and are reaching that place that we have always hoped for... things are good. Things are stable. Things are comfortable. We feel secure.

And yet... I know that if I try to hold on to it, I will destroy myself. I know at my core that I must follow the conviction of my beliefs... otherwise they would cease to hold meaning for me and I would be lost.

The worst scenario I can imagine is finding myself decades down the road of my life, remembering this moment, and regretting that I allowed my vision to die. I know that we are tempted by things that are the closest to our hearts. It is not a bad thing to have a good job, or a nice house, or a perfect summer in a backyard. But these things are not reason enough for us to miss the purpose of our lives. We have seen far too much to ever turn back!

I remember that elephants can be held by a string and that the ancient city of Jericho is nothing but rubble today. I realize that I have been trying to find solutions today... and really, all I need to do is to be present in my obedience.

I must keep following God and believe that He has already delivered the city into my hands.

When Joshua walked around Jericho that fourth day, I am sure that his circumstances looked like nothing was happening. After four days he still ended up right back at the place he started. He was just spinning around while those walls still stood. 

He could have given up. He could have simply pounded the wall, cursed that nothing had changed, realized that he must look foolish to those watching, and gone back to the routine of a nation in exile.

And if he would have quit on day four, then he would never have made it to day seven. Those walls would never have fallen, and Joshua would have lost his opportunity to be used by God.

All Joshua had to do was keep the faith and keep walking. I was wrong to see today as a setback. This story isn't about me. The story is God's.

I look forward to again ending up where I start. Tomorrow night I will walk around my Jericho for the 5th time.  

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