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Worship before victory

April 2, 2020 4 min read

Disruptive—that’s how I would describe these weeks. As the coronavirus claims more lives and plans than we expected, we wonder when all of this will be over. There are places we need to go, things we need to do. 

This strange season is a welcomed sabbath for some. For others, it’s one of the most stressful seasons they’ve ever faced. For me, it’s confusing—like the weirdest game of red light, green light. 

Go. Stop.
Stop. Go. 

I’m certainly not the only one experiencing the whiplash. 

Here’s the thing. I see where I need to go. I can almost reach it. It’s two-and-a-half hours away, but it’s a city on lockdown, a state that’s shut down. People are inside their homes, afraid of a virus they can’t see but could knock them to their knees. This city is where the Father called me in 2016. Year after year I tried to get there, and every year, the door closed.

Now the door is open, but I’m just out of reach.

I think all of us have a similar story, right? There’s a place we’re trying to get to, and for some of us, it’s a place we’ve longed for and waited on for years. But we’re paused—our plans on hold.

A few days ago, I asked the Father for a word or phrase—anything I could hold to and hear echo in my mind these days. Almost immediately, I heard Him say, “Worship before victory.” 

Woof. It’s a word that hits me in the face, that knocks the breath from my lungs a bit. 

Remember the story of Jericho? It’s a story of insurmountable odds and a plan that expected the supernatural. The Father had prepared a land for Israel—a place He promised to them. He called them to live there, build their homes in this place. But before they could enter the promise, they had to get past a giant, impenetrable fortress of a city—Jericho. 

The Lord told Joshua and his men to walk in silence around the city for seven days. Leading their march were priests who blew ram’s horns and carried the ark of the covenant—a tangible representation of the Lord’s presence. 

Do you see it? Swords and horses and muscles didn’t protect Israel as they walked into the unknown. Worship was their guard. The Lord’s presence was their shield.

Praise paved their way. 
Worship came before victory. 

And even in this completely unconventional way, victory came. 

Every day in Indiana, I wake up in a place I didn’t expect to be. Plans are on hold. Uncertainty hangs in the air. And I know I’m not the only one. In fact, I know that my situation pales compared to the other fortresses in many of my friends’ lives. This virus has disrupted our entire world. It has shaken our ideas about tomorrow. 

And if you’re like me, you may be asking the Father, “You want me to march around this thing, led by your presence and worship. You don’t want me to fight? You don’t want me to even push on the wall? And you’re saying that a shout will turn the walls to dust?”

Yes.

Friends, I’m not advocating apathy or doing nothing when we should do something. Joshua and his army still marched around the city for seven days. But victory came in a way no one would have expected. 

It came through worship.
It came through trust.
It came through faithfulness.
It came through that one loud shout on the last day—a final mark of faith. 

And the sound of their worship still echoes today.

These days our world shakes and trembles. Fear drives our conversations. We stare up at the walls surrounding our own Jericho and feel overwhelmed and stuck. In these days, we have to hold to the promises the Father has given us throughout Scripture. He’s doing something new. Victory is coming, but the path to it isn’t what I would have picked. 

Yet
Even still
Worship. 

So friend, this is my word to you from the Lord—
Worship before victory
Let it be your guard
Before you and behind you
Worship all around you
He is our good Father
Who gives us our daily bread
His Word does not return empty
So may our whole heart and mind and soul and strength—our entire being—be an act of worship.
Victory is coming.

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