I like to visualise stories. When I read the Bible, I sometimes even pretend that I am interviewing the characters. This helps me find new insights in the scripture. Recently I came across the story of the wall of Jericho. As I acted out the scene in my brain, I imagined it in a gaming style (An Asian with a video game…I don’t like stereotypes, but they usually are based on some reality.).
It would look like Mario or Zelda when the Israelites walked around the walls. You follow the instructions and something happens, like the coins come out or the background music changes. However, as I read through the scripture, I realised that when the Israelites walked around the wall for the first six days nothing happened. The bricks didn’t come out at each turn and the colours of the wall didn’t change. They looked exactly the same until they finished that last run with a big shout.
There is a popular article recently in Taiwan about how online game companies know much more about the children who play online than their parents do. The companies spend millions to work out every detail to make sure the gamer will continue playing. Even the colour and the size of the buttons are designed with purpose. One of the insights from this is that the company makes sure the gamer can see their progress. This is the big motivation for gamers to move on to the next level; they know they are making a difference with each action.
However, God doesn’t treat us like a gamer. We might not see any difference for a long time. What God wants from us is total obedience and trust. If the Israelites were frustrated by the zero changes in front of their physical eyes, they would not have continued to walk around the wall and we would lose a great Sunday School story where kids get to make everything fall down by just walking around.
Perseverance and patience are not easy when things are not looking good, especially for us growing up with smartphones and games. We desire to see an immediate response and do not want to wait. We would rather google right away to find another solution. Waiting and being still is one of the hardest lessons for my generation. But there are so many Bible verses reminding us to wait upon the Lord.
Earlier this year, I volunteered to teach two of our disciples computer for their high school entry exam. They grew up in the village with no electricity, so computers were just a concept from the movies they sometimes watched at neighbours' homes who had a TV and generator. Their teachers taught them by drawing the sign of copy and paste on the blackboard. No wonder they acted as if they would get shocked by the keyboard in my first lesson. Each week we went through the same practices and it was still a problem to click ‘start’ to find Word and Excel. I got very frustrated after a few weeks and was not sure if I should continue. It looked like nothing was able to register about these computers. However, I knew God would like me to help these students.
I tried to stop rolling my eyes when they asked me the same questions. A few months later, they both passed the computer exam. In fact, the day when they were printing out their Word and Excel work, the teacher already said that these two will pass. I am very proud of them and glad that I didn’t give up even when there was no obvious progress. The wall fell that day and now we could all rejoice about it.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” — Exodus 14:14 (NIV) That is not our style, but if we want to fight the battle, this is what we should do. It doesn’t matter if we are just at the first run or the sixth day or ready for the very last one. Let us wait upon the Lord and let us go around the wall again.
Ivy, previously a city girl rushing into the Taipei metro everyday, now enjoys walking around beautiful villages at Lake Tanganyika, Zambia. She likes to listen to people's stories and write newsletters (really a rare species). Her dream is to become the shortest giant in the world.