This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. – Zechariah 4:6
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. – Hebrews 11:30
I’m not always a great example of faith – especially when it comes to the long-term hold to a promise faintly lit and far away. Prayers for healing when the disease continues to take its toll soon give way to whimpers of groaning and last gasps of hopelessness. Fruitless job searches while retaining any sense of God’s daily provision begin to evaporate into days and months of futility. Overtures for forgiveness and reconciliation are rebuffed – even though every effort is made to show contrition and prove good faith.
How does one hope to hold to the hope of healing, employment, or reconciliation when they seem so far away and unattainable?
Sometimes the rewards of faith come only after a long path of patient obedience. That was certainly the case in Jericho. That path was one of seven days of trips around the walls. Seven days of obedience that seemed senseless at best – at least I would think of such a command as silly at best. But the children of Israel marched around the walls for seven days until on that last trip on that last day they blew the trumpets and the walls came tumbling down!
How often we think we can do more in our own power than God can do if we wait on his promises to bear fruit. One of my favorite sayings is, we tend to overestimate what we can do in the short term, but underestimate what God can do in the long term. Faith holds to that reality, and sometimes over a long path of patient obedience.
There is only one way to hold on to faith when the path is long and dark. In those times we must lean into the promises of God, learn more about how God has worked in the past, and look to the most amazing and perfect display of God’s faithfulness and love: the Baby of Bethlehem. His path was long and difficult, but he never wavered from it and won salvation for us. His is a path worth following no matter how long it may take.