Halls of Jericho

December 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton –

Warning: Joking during the sermon may have unexpected repercussions.

Recently, as our preacher, Russell, circled the audience, speculating over the Israelites’ reaction to God’s command to march around Jericho, I whispered to Wes, “Maybe I should march around the school seven times.” Ha, ha – sarcasm duly noted.

Backstory: I have found this school year particularly stressful. My longsuffering family would testify to a rise in work load, complaint level, and tears. Under this pressure, I began to seriously consider blowing the dust off the accounting degree which I set aside many years ago to pursue education—for a kind of instant gratification of the desire to feel worthwhile. In recent months, that worth has been buried under paperwork, testing, and student apathy.

Thus, the joke, emphasis on lack of serious intent. I never intended to walk around the school.

But the idea didn’t fade; it kept popping into my thoughts. I echoed Russell’s imaginary Israelite, “Really, God? Why? What good will walking around the school do?” I will admit that a teensy, evil portion of my soul was tantalized by a vision of crumbling bricks in clouds of dust. Still, the scheme nagged until I decided it was a prompting from the Spirit.

Monday morning, when I had to don my rain boots and ward off drizzle with an umbrella to trudge through the lack of dawn’s early light, doubts mocked me. What was I trying to prove? Was the weather a test of my resolve? Was I just an over-imaginative Jesus freak?

I didn’t know, but I carried on. Praying over each portion of the building and my own future for a fifteen minute romp certainly couldn’t hurt although my frizzy hair might argue the point.

Each of the following six work days, I tramped in a loop around campus, wavering back and forth from prayer to misgiving. I met an occasional colleague on my wanderings. My quest was unclear in my own mind, so I was leery of sharing it. Most assumed I was exercising, and I allowed the mistaken credit, feeling a little deceitful at my caginess.

On the seventh day, I rose earlier than normal and started my trek in full dark. I managed six rounds of prayer and questions before school. I’d make my final march in the afternoon. I laughed at alternating dreams of suddenly cooperative students versus a profitable business career.

The sun shone as I started my final trip past the gym. Students lingered in the courtyard. One called out, “Hi, Mrs. Thornton!” Then another flagged me down for a simple question about an assignment. Nothing earth-shattering. I shared no deep insight about life’s purpose—but I connected, and the link resonated.

As I rounded a corner, my shadow stretched several yards before me. I chuckled at my own grasping for symbolism. Yet, a peace descended along with a new confidence in my purpose here. God sent an epiphany: for now, I am to teach, and, by the way, try not to complain about it so much. For the last ten minutes of my pilgrimage, I probed my subconscious for forced meaning. The conviction remained firm.

Climbing into my car to head home, I sheepishly gave a semi-shout of “Amen” and tooted the car horn to cement the deal. “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands…” (Joshua 6:2b).

Comment Prompt: What Jericho has the Lord conquered for you?

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.
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5 Responses to “Halls of Jericho”
  1. Welcome to my team, Jane! Love your article. I posted it on the Christian Pulse Facebook page.

  2. Dawn Wilson says:

    Thank you for your simple but profound example of obedience, Jane. We may never know what our acts and attitudes of obedience accomplish this side of heaven, but our obedience pleases our Father God.

  3. Dee Yoder says:

    Thank you for posting this link, Jane. I needed to read this. Time to give over a major project to the Lord and let Him crumble the walls.

  4. Julie Marx says:

    Love it! Jane, this is wonderful! A great example of faith and thinking out of the “religious” box. Fits right in with floating axes, talking donkeys, and the sun standing still.

  5. Lee King says:

    Hi Jane. I enjoyed this and certainly understand your frustration with things going on with your students. I’m glad you could laugh when the thought came about walking around the walls and seeing them crumbling down. I truly believe that God has a sense of humor and enjoys having us talk to him as a friend. I have always known that when we have tears of joy, it is the Holy Spirit in us and I think that goes for laughter as well.
    BTW, I forwarded this to my prayer partners and thought we could discuss it at our next prayer time.

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