Elevation Worship’s lyrics “Walking around these walls, I thought by now they’d fall” (from the song Do It Again), always reminds me of the story of Jericho. Recorded in Joshua 6:2, God tells the Israelites to march around the fortified walls of the city once a day, for six straight days, in complete silence. Then, on day seven, the Lap pattern changed. Instead of marching just once, the Lord instructed them to circle the city seven times, the first six silently. On the seventh and final Lap, however, the Israelites were given the green light to make as much noise as possible. At their unified shout, the reinforced walls fell. Open and defenseless, the city quickly slipped into the hands of the Israelites.
Those Laps are my visual of what I call the Waiting Season – that seemly Frozen Period of Time – where we continually circle Our Walled Jericho, petitioning God to bring an answer to our One fervently-repeated prayer. The Bible is filled with such examples – the story of Abraham and Sarah is just one of them.
At the age of 75, Abraham received a promise from God that he’d be the father of many nations. The problem? His wife, Sarah, hadn’t born him any children. Obviously passed their prime childbearing years, but believing God’s promise, Abraham and Sarah waited. And they waited. And waited longer still. They waited and waited and waited.
But after nearly 10 years had passed, seeing absolutely no movement by God in this area, Sarah allowed her frustration to open the Bad Decision-Making Door. And in this mode, Sarah voices her Solution – she tells Abraham to sleep with her Egyptian servant, Hagar, saying, “it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” (Genesis 16:2) Abraham did as Sarah said; he slept with Hagar. Hagar became pregnant and bore Abraham a son, naming him Ishmael. At 86, parenthood had finally arrived, but ONLY to Abraham; Sarah was not part of it. This one decision created chaos and disorder. What was expected to unify only brought division, quickly consuming Sarah with Buyer’s Remorse. Pitted against one another, Hagar and Sarah quickly dove down into the depths of Baby Mama Drama.
Yet God had not forgotten His promise. When Ishmael was about 14, Sarah finally conceived, and at the age of 90, bore a son, named Isaac. Abraham, now 100 years old, held what God had promised nearly 25 years earlier – a son through which the nations would come. The Promise Maker showed that He’s also a Promise Keeper.
We get frustrated because our timeline never matches His. We are in a hurry. He is not. This is compounded by how we view the Waiting Season – we often see it as Wasted Time – Futile rather than Fruitful – Pointless rather than Powerful. The Waiting Season teaches us what no other Time Span can – it stretches us, producing change and maturity.
Last Lap Syndrome enticed Abraham and Sarah to “solve” their dilemma by stepping into God’s shoes and bringing about the answer in their own power. But despite Abraham and Sarah’s faith-less-ness, God remained faithful – He delivered exactly what He promised. That alone should give us hope – it’s evidence that even Wrecking Ball Decisions cannot derail the promises of Almighty God.
The Promise Maker is, and will always be, a Promise Keeper. What God promises will come to pass. Don’t give up. Keep circling your Walled Jericho. Your Deliverer is counting your Laps and He will crush those walls at the perfect moment. Hang in there. God’s never late. God’s never early, either. He is, however, always right on time.