Gosh, wouldn’t it be great to know for sure how God is going to show up and fight for you? Wouldn’t it be amazing to know how God is going to work all this out? Wouldn’t you just love to be assured God is opening this exact door, and you don’t have to knock on a single other door?
It would be nice … but I’ve found God really doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t magically appear with a booming voice, revealing every detail. He doesn’t make an immediate exchange of my doubt for his guarantee.
Instead, you know what happens? God gives us his presence. He lets us know he is here with us. And God’s presence always precedes the miracle.
How about instead of frantically searching for the plan, you simply seek his presence. God, are you here with me in this? If you’re by my side, that’s all I need to fight this battle. I don’t have to have a 10 step plan from you, if I can just know you’re here with me in this step.
I’m currently reading a fantastic devotional book by Phil Wickham, titled ‘On Our Knees’, 40 days to living boldly in prayer. Each day, you read a specific chapter in the bible, then the devotional goes deeper on the lesson. Day 6 is ‘Prayer Breaks Down Walls.’
Oh, I love me a good ‘ol wall breaking down, don’t you? I love me a battle plan with a guaranteed victory. I love me a way is made, impossible becomes possible, God is on the scene, kinda story. But this one isn’t about the story we all know. It’s not about the battle plan where God says march around those impossible walls once every day for 6 days, then on the 7th day, circle the walls 7 times. On the 7th time, blow horns and shout and baby, those walls will come tumbling down in Jericho. Now, that’s indeed what happened, but this isn’t about the battle plan that brought the victory, this is about what happened BEFORE the battle plan.
You’re wanting God to show up and give you clear direction and divine guidance. That’s not wrong. But before he tells you how you’re going to overcome this obstacle in your way, Sis, he’s going to ask you for something.
Let’s read the part of the story we typically skim over to get to the marching and the yelling and the walls crumbling. What happens before that?
Joshua 5: 13-15 “When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”
“Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”
At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”
The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.”
This little book I’m reading pointed out what I’ve always missed in this story. What happens BEFORE God brings the walls of Jericho down. Before God reveals how he’s going to make impossible things possible, before he gives marching orders and a promise of victory, he asks for one thing.
The angel tells Joshua to take off his sandals. Removing your shoes was a sign of reverence, humility and respect. It was a total forfeit of comforts and rights. With bare feet, you stand in the presence of a powerful God, in full surrender of your past, present and future.
And this is what God is asking of you here: Be aware of God’s presence before the miracle. This is holy ground.
We mistake holy ground for the place where God makes the breakthrough, but in fact, the holy ground is BEFORE that. It is God’s presence while you’re still in the unknowing. God’s presence before the direction. God’s presence before a single thing turns around for you. This is the holy ground.
And isn’t that where you are right now? Aren’t you standing here facing a battle you don’t know how to fight? Aren’t you standing here wondering how in the world this is all going to work out? Aren’t you standing here staring down reality, trying to hold on to a faith that God can do this for you, but dang it doesn’t look like it right now?
Honey, THIS IS HOLY GROUND.
God’s presence always precedes the miracle.
What God asks of you here is to recognize his presence. Girl, take those shoes off. Don’t wait until your walls all fall down to show your reverence, humility and respect.
I wonder how many victories we have forfeited because we’re saving our face on the floor, barefeet moments of acknowledging God for when the walls have fallen. No, God wants that first.
God will win battles for his people, but before he does, he wants us to acknowledge each situations as fully his, and respond with submission the way Joshua did.
Sometimes we become hyper focused on the promised land and the holy spaces we want AFTER the victory, but God wants our focus on the holy ground before the victory ever occurs. You see, it is your acknowledgment of this holy ground in his presence BEFORE anything makes sense, that opens the door to what God has available to you next.
What does he have available next? Victory. He has walls coming down for you next. He has breakthrough and promises fulfilled all aligned for you next. But first, this is holy ground. God is present BEFORE the miracle, and he is asking for you to recognize it.
My mind often wanders when I face obstacles. I am generally a very positive person, so I don’t often wander to visions of defeat and destruction, but instead I imagine all the ways this could work out so incredibly good. I become consumed by a million ways bad news can become good news, failed plans can become better plans, every no leads to a better yes. I’m basically pre-working better scenarios and offering them to God as solutions for him to choose from. ‘Here God, you can work it out like this. You can turn this around like that. You can use this for good right here now.’
In my head, that’s not a bad thing. But I sense God is telling me to take captive my thoughts and bring them back to this holy ground where all that matters is God’s presence. I don’t have to become fixated on how this is all going to work out. I don’t have to paint pretty scenarios that make me feel all better in the moment. I don’t have to try to convince my husband, who is naturally a bit more pesimistic than me, of how good it’s going to be. And I certainly don’t have to offer solutions to God for his selection.
I’m always rushing the wait and dreaming up better plans for victory. And God says, stop, take off your sandals, THIS is your holy ground.
I’m not sure if you’re naturally more positive or pessimistic, but you’re either working up scenarios of how it can all work out or how it can all fall apart, aren’t you? Instead, God simply wants us to say, “GOD IS HERE WITH ME RIGHT NOW. I’M ON HOLY GROUND.”
Let’s let go of all our preconceived ideas about how God will work in our situations, and learn to pray with the knowledge that we are standing on holy ground BEFORE the victory.
Here’s a line in the day 6 reading of ‘On Our Knees’: It’s important to remember that whenever we pray, we are stepping onto ground that is set apart, distinct, different, above, beyond our understanding, and yes, holy, because God’s presence is there even before the promise of His answer.
Girls, we don’t have to understand the how’s and why’s of bringing down the walls in our lives. We don’t have to dream up all the possible scenarios and map out how God will turn it all around for our good. We don’t have to prepare ourselves for worst case scenario so we’re not caught off guard.
All we need is to come to God and know we are standing in his presence. His presence precedes the miracle.
God is here with me right now. Right here where I am still staring down walls with no battle plan. Right here where still nothing makes sense. This is holy ground, and I will take off my shoes.
Ephesians 5:15 in the NKJV “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise.”
Circumspectly – big word – do you know what it means? Barefoot. Walk barefoot. Walk in in the awareness of God’s presence in your life. This is holy ground!
It isn’t just where you are; it is what you are. You are his temple on earth. You carry his Holy Spirit with you. You are commissioned and mandated from heaven to fulfill this purpose in God’s presence. With bare feet, you soak him into your pores. You let him fill you and flood you with his glory, so you can pursue the destiny he has for you.
Yip, when you’re taking off your shoes, you’re not running ahead, now are you? When you’re taking off your shoes, you’re not walking in circles of worry, doubt and fear. When you’re taking off your shoes, you’re acknowledging there’s no where better to be than in God’s presence. The rest will unfold when he reveals the plan, but for now, stand here on holy ground and trust this is where you are being prepared for the victory.
You thought you were standing here waiting for the day this all works out and you finally arrive to that holy place of victory. But actually, you’re standing on that holy ground right now, where God is present before the miracle. Soak him in!