Jericho

by Parker Payne

Stories tell of those who believed, and the wall fell after seven laps around it. Faith for seven trips around and victory was given to all. Amazing, but pathetic at the same time. It doesn’t really feel like much was asked of them when I think about it. What would faith look like when no specific number of times around is given? What happens when victory is promised, but you’ve lost count of the number of times you have slammed your fist against the wall and the wall remains in its unbreakable form? Drops of blood I’ve spilled are innumerable and dry bones aren’t awake, I’m just slowly dying as my wall shows no signs of aging. I look around and see no one else trying to tear it down. Some simply give up, saying that it’s impossible, so why bother? Some use remedies to forget the wall’s existence, while others claim it never existed in the first place. Some claim the wall is natural. We were born with it, why deny who we really are? Who is to tell you to not become comfortable with your wall? It was never meant to come down. They all sound right to varying degrees from time to time. I slam my fist into the wall repeatedly. “This is all for you, God! So, make it fall!”

Slam!

A knuckle cracks

Whack!

Two knuckles split and begin to bleed

“This is what you want right? You asked me to fight!”

Crack!

The last hit makes my thumb go sideways. I keep hitting until I cannot lift my hands, then I begin using my head.

“I’m serving You!” I say as I slam my forehead against the wall, blood appears immediately.

“I’m sacrificing for you!”

SMACK

“I love you! I believe in you!”

CRACK

“SO WHY WON’T YOU HELP ME!”

The next crack sends me to the ground. I lie down bleeding, furious that despite my best efforts, I’ve yet again failed. The wall is unblemished.

It is then, as I believe I might die from my failure that I feel my King’s presence.

“I can’t do it!” I say through sobs

“Of course you can’t”

“Then why give it to me if I can’t beat it? Why ask me to do this if I’m just going to fail? Why did you leave me here if you knew I couldn’t win?”

A long pause fills the air before my King speaks again.

“My child, I never asked you to hit the wall. I asked you to walk around it. You could never tear it down. But what you’ve forgotten is that I never put it there. You did. You built this wall to separate yourself from me. You had help certainly, but you built it. And only after it was complete did you realize that you didn’t want it there. But here’s the thing. I CAN tear it down. And I did. I did something you could never do, so stop trying to do what I did. Accept my help. Accept that you will never be strong enough to take this wall down. Look at how much pain you’ve caused yourself by relying on your own strength. Do you know why that wall fell after only seven laps? Because they actually believed that I would take it down for them. You don’t. You believe you must do something and then, with my assistance, this wall will fall. I require nothing from you, but I love you. I want this wall gone not because of pride, but because it separates you from me. Can you say the same?”

I open my eyes and see nothing. I swallow anything that resembles pride and pick myself up off of the ground. I take a look at my wall and honestly take it in for the first time. The craftsmanship is unquestionably my own. I will never beat it. I am not a hero who can knock it down or a genius who can figure out a way to make it fall. I just have to take laps around it and trust in what was promised, because it will never fall under my own power. And I want what’s inside that wall more than I want to be admired.

So, I take a lap.

It’s a very hard lap. I cry and bleed from wounds that I can only blame myself for. My past attempts make it more difficult to do what is necessary. But I complete it. At the end of my lap, I look at the wall. It appears as impenetrable as ever. But the funny thing about my wall is that I am very familiar with it. And I can see that it has a crack.


Parker Payne is a middle school education major at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY. He has been a Christian for several years now and hopes to share what Jesus has done in his life through his writing.

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