A forest ranger listens from the next room to her father, Mr. Meachum, telling a group of neighborhood children his legendary encounter with a giant, green dragon in the woods. As the children’s eyes are undone from the amazing, perilous climax, the man’s story is interrupted by a particular forest ranger.
“Scaring the kids again, dad?” she says.
“No, No, No…” he says smiling at his daughter. “I was just giving them a leg up on what’s out there in those woods.”
“Well,” she tells the children,” I’m out there in those woods every day, and… I have never seen a dragon.”
“Well just ‘cuz you don’t see somethin’ doesn’t mean it’s not there,” the storytelling father replies.
“And just because you say it’s true doesn’t mean it is.”
As the man’s daughter leaves for her forest patrol he ends his story with sure conviction: “See my daughter, she knows a thing or two but only if it’s staring her in the face. If you go through life only seeing what’s right in front of you you’re gonna miss out on a whole lot… Because mark my words, that dragon is still out there… If you were to go out there in those woods, where nobody goes, you might just find him. If he doesn’t find you first” (Pete’s Dragon, Disney, 2016).
Maybe Joshua was contemplating battle plans on some level as his eyes canvased Jericho—the city that would be the first battle won in conquest of the new land. Yet the faith of Joshua that the Bible consistently records leads me to believe he was not just the skilled, ready and capable warrior or brilliant battle strategist. He held a conviction rooted in the truth of God and His infallible Word and it is on display in Joshua 5:
3 … And behold, a man was standing before [Joshua] with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[c] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
His response tells me he was waiting for God to speak and it is first and foremost that when God communicates with us our immediate reply in action is to fall on our face in recognition of where we stand. Yet we have a hard time seeing this, don’t we? Maybe the business of our lives sifts out reading God’s Word—the daily, trustworthy voice of truth for our moment-to-moment lives of faith for action. Or maybe the culture has averted our eyes with the draw of our next self-centered Tik Tok drop. This all—with Joshua’s example at the center of it—directly relates to God’s plan for us. A recent episode of largely one of my favorite shows is a modern-day western of sorts and a short conversation sparked my mind’s application of God’s truth when John Dutton, Montana ranch owner (not a biblical character example by any means) says to his son—thinking of his late wife: “Makes you wonder the point of it all. Finding someone you love so much just to lose ‘em. I’d like to believe there’s a plan to it all. But I don’t see a plan.” His son replies, saying, “That’s just ‘cuz you’re inside it Dad. We see the plan. We’re standing on it” (2020, Paramount Pictures).
In fact it is God’s plan and purpose for us to recognize and respond. First, however we must realize where we are standing. It’s holy ground. To take it a step further, answer this: With the very Spirit of God dwelling in you do you realize, at all times where you’re standing? Right now, you are standing in holy ground.