I still remember the way my heart leapt when, at fourteen, I found out that the guy I had a gigantic crush on liked me back.
I was stunned. Ecstatic. Finally! Someone had noticed me!
And then the natural cynic in me crawled out. This can’t be true. I decided to save my elation until he told me himself.
Turns out, it was all a mean trick orchestrated by a couple of friends.
Once I got over my shock, I remember being so proud of myself for not believing their lie. Even today, I’m cynical about everything.
I need an explanation, proof, motive, and reasoning before I’ll accept something as true. Smart, right? This is the way to go, right?
But there was no room for cynical skeptics in Joshua 6, during what is probably the most famous story from the book of Joshua.
The Israelites are camped outside of Jericho. This strong nation surrounded by a thick stone fortress stands between the children of God and the land He promised them.
They are supposed to get through. But can they believe that?
Common sense who?
What if I asked you to take a math test without a calculator, without a pencil, and without even a study session?
Or what if I asked you to give a presentation to your boss’s boss, in two minutes, without a Power Point or even a pep talk?
Would you believe me if I told you you were going to ace that test? Or nail that presentation?
Of course not, yet that is literally the situation the Israelites walked into. They were about to fight one of the most powerful nations in this part of the world, but they weren’t allowed to use weapons. They couldn’t even send a diplomatic delegation to negotiate peace terms!
They just walked in circles.
It made no sense! They had no protection. They had no game plan. They didn’t know what would happen next. They were marching blind, vulnerable.
The only thing they had to go on was this: God had promised victory.
Do you ever feel like you’re walking in circles?
Unprepared for everything that’s been thrown at you? Unprotected from the stress and the trauma of it all?
And with every global pandemic, personal failure, racist attack, soured relationship, and global injustice, do you wonder what God’s game plan is? When He’s going to show up and, well, do His job?
If so, then I’m here to remind you that God has promised victory.
He promised to overcome this world.
He promised to give you joy and peace and an abundant life.
He promised to protect you.
That means that even if we don’t have proof or evidence or an explanation on our side, we have to have faith.
Yes, it’s the kind of faith that skeptics scoff at and cynics doubt.
But it’s also the kind of faith that strengthens us. It’s the kind of faith that requires us to decide once and for all if we really believe in God.
It’s the kind of faith that will save us.
“I will be the Author and Finisher of your faith. All you have to do is take the first step.”
But how? How do we have faith?
When you’ve been violated and burned and beaten by life, blind faith sounds crazy and honestly kind of is crazy.
But having faith in God doesn’t mean that we feel no doubt. It doesn’t mean that our hearts don’t pound or that our stomachs don’t feel sick. Having faith doesn’t mean that every hiccup or hardship suddenly becomes easy to deal with.
Faith isn’t a feeling, it is a decision.
The Israelites showed their faith by marching around the walls of Jericho. In other words, they showed their faith by obedience. They lived like they had an all-powerful God guaranteeing them victory.
The world may be falling to pieces around us. Invitations to numb the pain with our favorite sin might be cornering us.
But if we really believe God is powerful enough to save us and good enough to keep His promises, then we will live like He is real. We’ll read His Bible, spend time with Him, and obey Him like He is real.
All it takes is one decision, and God will step in. You won’t walk around Jericho alone. He will walk with you, hold you up, support you, and love you until the day we will finally lift up our trumpets and shout.
Victory is coming. Have faith.
What do you think? How is your faith bringing you through these tough times?