There were five women.
And one bold prayer request.
I believed, since August, God wanted me to actively seek Him and claim a fresh start for our family on a specific date. Any negative symbolism that day had held would be redeemed and rebranded.
So the call went out. Five women who know me from different places and seasons would pray alongside me. I sent scriptures I would be reading in the week leading up to the day. I shared what I was learning from Gideon in Judges 6 and 7 and from the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37. But most of all, I camped out in Joshua. God allowed Joshua to bring Israel into the promised land. After God parted the waters (yes, again, he allowed Israel to cross over on dry land when the water was at flood stage), He brought them to the promised land.
What did they find? An impenetrable force of a wall around Jericho made of heavy mud bricks intended to keep everyone out. But God promised. Christine Caine characterizes it like this: If there’s one key to watching the walls in your life fall, to moving forward in freedom, to seeing the promises of God at work, then this is it: You must learn to believe the truth of God’s word over the facts of your circumstances. You have to look to God, not at everything around you. We have to see the wall torn down even before it is. We have to believe that God is faithful to do what He has promised.
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1)
So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away…And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. (Joshua 3)
On the seventh day they rose early, at the dawn of day, and marched around the city in the same manner seven times. It was only on that day that they marched around the city seven times. And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, “Shout, for the Lord has given you the city… So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city…and they captured the city. (Joshua 6)
The day arrived. My troops were praying. Even my son, only in 1st grade, was claiming the promise right along with me as we prayed before school. The clock painfully doled out new numbers. It seemed only minutes passed. I continued on, as though today were any other day. 10:54, 1:36, 7:04 the clock read. Praying silently and believing God’s promises are bigger than the circumstances.
When I shared with my son why I, and my friends, were praying, he shared it with his dad but added, “And if it doesn’t happen, we’ll start all over again next week.”
This is the brave faith we lose as adults. I’ve written about how terrifying brave prayers can be to speak aloud as an adult because we’ve seen them answered differently than we would want. As a child, you still trust God and keep praying.
Nothing changed in response to my prayers and the prayers of those women who stood alongside me, that I could externally see. Crickets. It doesn’t make God’s promises any less true. It shouldn’t make my faith any less strong. And it doesn’t make the redemption I prayed for any less secure. It’s like my now husband said when he proposed to me at Halloween instead of my birthday the month before, “I didn’t want to do it when you were expecting it.”
God’s promises for us aren’t any less true when He doesn’t deliver on the timeline we set.
It still hurts. I still struggle. But He’s still God.
Watch closely; I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none. Isaiah 43:19