Jericho. And Me. And You.
Let’s be honest.
There are things in this life that we simply cannot do. They’re too big for us, or completely unfeasible, or absolutely unconquerable, or just plain impossible.
And then? There’s the other half of that truth: Sometimes? Those are things we CAN do. They’re impossible, but hey. Sometimes we find ourselves right smack dab in the middle of “impossible”.
Like, for instance, Jericho. Did you know it was built on a hill? Did you know the “walls of Jericho” we learned jaunty tunes about as children were, literally, plural walls? Oh, yes. Based on archaeological digs, Jericho was built atop a hill. At the bottom of that hill was the first wall, surrounding the entire city. It was a retaining wall, twelve to fifteen feet high, with another wall ON TOP of it, another 20-26 feet high (and 6 feet THICK!).
That’s a serious wall.
But don’t forget, that was just the first one. Atop the hill was the second wall, about “forty-six feet above the ground level outside the retaining wall”. (source <-- Be sure to click through. There is a FANTASTIC diagram there).
And God promised this city to Joshua and his army. They were to walk around the city a given number of times (see Joshua chapter 6), have the priests blow their trumpets and the men give a mighty outcry after the final march, and see the promise fulfilled.
Could Joshua penetrate an impenetrable, entirely self-sustained city? No.
Could he take a single step? Yes. And another? Yes. For seven days? Yes. Against all reason and logic? Yes.
He could choose to obey. To live the impossible, because his God was bigger than impossible.
Like Joshua, we can do hard things.
We can do impossible things when God calls us to them or allows them in our lives, because while the big picture IS impossible, the next step is not.
And a thousand “next steps” combined bring us to the foot of the impossible wall, where we can remember the foot of the cross– and watch the God who was mighty enough to conquer death– the impossible— work out His bigger-than-impossible plan once again.
We can do whatever it is God is calling us to, in the knowledge that while we may not be sufficient, HE is. And all we have to do is trust. Obey. Do what’s next.
When we feel too weak to carry on, too small to take another step, too overwhelmed to bear up under the weight of it all—He is there. To carry us, to stand with us as we take the next step, to shoulder those burdens and give us refuge, for He knows how hard it is.
Can I write a novel tonight? No. But I can write a few thousand words. And many nights of a few thousand words does a novel make. (Or at least a really rough draft. Ha!)
Can I change someone’s heart or life in a day’s time, make everything that’s hurting them magically disappear? No. But I can love them in the next moment, and as many moments as I can after that, and that can be more meaningful than a brute-force entry into their life anyhow. I know it, because I’ve been on the receiving end of such love, and my gratefulness will never end for that.
See… when God puts something on our hearts—He’s a big God. And He’s got big plans. Deep-running plans. Plans tailored to us, to our very core. Plans that will stretch us in ways we never imagined, draw us nearer to him into an intimacy we never fathomed.
Impossible plans, we might think. Sometimes He makes us privy to them, sometimes He gives us just enough information for the next moment. But always, always, He knows what He’s about, and He will strengthen us to take that next step.
“Jericho” may look different for each person here. It may be a lifelong dream. It may be simply surviving, in a place where there’s nothing simple about survival at all. It may be continuing on a road that takes us so far beyond our strength, we’re not even sure where the strength will come from for the next step. It may be surrendering something we’ve held so tight we can’t imagine living without it. Or it may be holding on with all we have to something it would be easier just to let go of.
Whatever it is, this year, as I set goals and dream dreams, mostly I want to listen. I want to hear His voice telling me what that next step is.
Don’t tell my S.M.A.R.T. goals, but I want an impossible dream. Something big and slightly crazy so that when it happens, it’s so clear that it was God who did it. I just took the next step. Again and again, moment by moment, the next step.