Walking in Circles

Photo by Francois BESSONNET.flickr.creativecommons I've been noticing lately that people do a lot of walking around in circles in the Bible.

Take the city of Jericho, for instance. After spending their entire lives in the wilderness (walking around in circles) the children of Israel finally make it into the Promised Land. They come up against their first opponent and God gives a command which doesn't make sense to me, from a tactical perspective.

He tells them to go out for six days and walk around the city, blowing their trumpets and not making a sound.

Then, on the seventh day, to walk around seven times, then to stop, let the trumpets blow, and shout with all of their lungs.

They do this, and the walls fall flat.

I sometimes feel like I'm walking in circles in my own life. I've been in this place before, felt these feelings before, and doesn't that tree look familiar? It's easy for me to be frustrated by this. I like to feel that I am making progress, that the lessons I've learned in the past are not lessons I will need to learn again, that I have checked a few things off the list.

God is always saying "Do not be afraid" in the Bible. Constantly. You'd think that at some point, if my linear system was correct, that we could jettison a few of those instances.

But my system is not correct. Every day, I struggle with a lot of the same things I've struggled with in the past. I don't always trust God, I need to be reminded not to be afraid, I don't always act as though I believe that God will do what He says He will do.

I read an article in an airplane magazine that has stayed with me. It was about labyrinths, which provide a (usually circular) path for your feet to walk, so that your mind can be focused on prayer. They can be outside or inside, raised or flat, but they serve the same purpose: they show you where to put your feet.

I need that.

photo by Kristijan Brkic.flickr.creative commons

It's easy, when I'm driving (my car, or my life) to start thinking that I really know where I'm going. Anyone who has driven with me knows how very untrue that is, it only takes one small road construction closure to send me into a frantic tailspin, trying to find a way to where I've decided I'm going.

My first experience driving was at Disneyland, on the Autopia. The most beautiful thing about that ride is that you feel a certain ownership (you're driving after all) but you are kept from going off course by a metal track.

I sometimes think that I am capable of messing up my life. That's a scary thought, but I think that it gives me far too much credit. The God of the universe, who can flatten a city with a snap of His fingers, while singling out a harlot and her entire family to save, is not going to let a short blonde girl ruin the things that He has created for her to walk in.

It can be frustrating to walk in circles, but I think it can be extremely freeing as well. Joshua and his warriors were being obedient to God, I am trying to do the same as I walk through the circles of my own life. If I'm hanging on to God, as I go, I know I won't be able to get too far off track.

photo by Kevin Harber.flickr.creative commons