Promise Over Progress
“And the second day they marched around the city once, and returned into the camp. So they did for six days.” -Joshua 6:14
Several year ago, I set out to lose a bunch of weight. I had stopped playing competitive sports in high school and had become downright spherical on a consistent diet of McDonalds and Chinese food. Over the course of 8-12 months, I lost nearly 50 pounds. I felt better than I had in years. What kept me going to the gym and eating healthy during that time was the progress that I saw myself making. I was watching the pounds melt away, and that encouraged me to keep going until I saw more.
We as humans thrive off seeing progress. Progress is what encourages us to keep going. We aren’t likely to quit, so long as we know we’re headed in the right direction. However, obedience rarely feels like progress. Imagine being a soldier in Joshua’s army. Circling your problem. Circling your enemy. Circling those walls day after day, and yet they still stand just as strong as they did the day before. Obedience rarely looks like progress either.
Why wouldn’t God have had a few chips fall out of the wall on the first day? Surely that would have encouraged Joshua and his army. “You’re doing great. Here’s a few bricks. Now keep it up!” Why does God remain seemingly still until the final day?
Obedience is learning to focus, and act on what God promised over what’s present. We won’t always be able to see or understand how our obedience is moving us toward what God has promised. But that type of perseverance in the face of uncertainty is what builds our faith. It makes us stronger when the walls finally do fall. While we were circling the city, God was strengthening the faith we would need to inhabit it.
God has something incredible promised for us. And on the way there, he wants to teach us to be obedient, and let His ways direct us, even when we can’t see where it’s going.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank you for your promises and your guidance in my life. I pray for greater faith, obedience, and dependance on you today, Lord. Help me to follow you and focus on your promises, even when I don’t see any progress. I trust in you.