I regularly hear from or about people who are struggling. I receive prayer requests, lend an ear to friends, watch the news, read Facebook posts...Hurting, struggling people are everywhere I turn. I even see one in the mirror some days.
Today I was reminded of a tragic event that happened to friends from my church early this year. A young guy, named Jerricho, died suddenly and unexpectedly--leaving his family and friends in shock, pain, and feeling extreme loss and defeat. All who knew and loved him were broken.
A few days later, I attended Jerricho's memorial service. It began somber and sad, as anyone would expect. But, then, our Pastor spoke...She told about Jericho in the Bible. The city of Jericho. This story, found in Joshua 6, tells of God's miraculous provision for His people by breaking down walls. Appropriately, the name "Jerricho" means "walls come down." Our Pastor explained how God had spoken clearly into her hurting heart, telling her that He wanted to use this tragedy to tear down some walls in the lives of the people who loved Jerricho. Whether it be walls keeping them in depression, unhealthy in their relationships, mired in discouragements, tangled with distractions, or stubborn against salvation in Christ. He wanted to give them victory--and He wanted to bring beauty from the ashes of Jerricho's death by speaking to them about the victory they can have when the walls come down. And, reminding them, that Jerricho was now experiencing the ultimate victory because, before his death, he had let the walls come down between him and God, asking Jesus to be his Savior. She encouraged all of us to let Jerricho's name, and his own choice to follow Jesus, challenge us; to allow his loss in our lives to be a catalyst for walls coming down, leading to victory!
I left the memorial service very inspired. And, I felt God speaking to me. I'd like to share with you the letter I wrote to Jerricho's family following the service.
We all have, or will, experience pain, and tragedy, and loss--in a variety of ways. When you find yourself in those dark, helpless places, I hope you will remember this...
My Dear Friends,
My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with you.
As I was listening to the memorial message today, and hearing about what Jerricho’s name means…well, I believe God brought this song to mind, for my own comfort, as well as, to share with you.
It’s old school. Like 1987 old school. And, it’s Carman—a classic Christian artist back in the day…But, it’s also POWERFUL.
The song tells the story of the Battle of Jericho in the Bible. More importantly, it tells about the Victory of Jericho. As a matter of fact, the song’s title is, “Jericho: The Shout of Victory.”
I think the reason I’m led to share this with you is to reinforce today’s message—about walls coming down. And, also, to remind you of the victory that Jerricho has because of Jesus…To remind you that his is a victory we all can have hope, confidence, and take comfort in…And, it’s a victory available to each of us—a victory over all with which this broken world would try to destroy us.
In a section of the song, it talks about the power that is in praising God, and in claiming the victory that is ours through him. That part goes like this:
“…Something with tremendous power that assassinates fear and doubt: It's the high praises of victory unleashed by a shout...When David played his songs of praise, demons fled from Saul...As Paul and Silas worshiped God, the chains began to fall...It lifts us above the circumstance and lets God's power flow...The shout of victory binds the devil with chains that won't let go…”
I’m praying that when the right time comes, God will give you the power and courage and strength and faith to shout your victory through the praise and worship of Him!
It is my hope and prayer that God will clearly be very near, very real, very known to you all…
P.S. If you are interested in the complete song, here's a link to a youtube video of "Jericho: Shout of Victory"