Eternal One, You are preparing peace for us;
in fact, everything we have accomplished has come from You. Isaiah 26:12 VOICE
Meet Rahab in scripture. You’ll find her here in Joshua 2.
You are still here. Despite the stories being told about you, despite the reputation you’ve been given, you remain. And for that, I am thankful.
Perhaps it’s because you see something more than we can. Perhaps it’s because you know there’s more than the stories we write in the fringes of the days, more than this very present moment. And so you remain.
Rahab reminds me of you. Yes, that Rahab.
Abram became Abraham.
Sarai became Sarah.
Saul became Paul.
And yet Rahab remained.
Maybe she reminds me of you because of the meaning of her name—wide, broad, spacious. From the beginning, Rahab was larger than life, expansive, beyond the horizons. God saw her as reaching beyond boundaries, saw her story as much more than a footnote in the fringes of days shadowed by pain and . He saw her life as heritage for holy things. He purposefully placed her in the pedigree of Jesus.
But what a life God chose to use. I wonder if anyone—including me—would look at Rahab and say, “This is the life I choose to honor.”
Rahab was a harlot. A prostitute. A woman who sold herself the way you or I might sell Girl Scout cookies in the spring. Working with young women who have been rescued from sexual exploitation, I can’t help but think of Rahab and wonder what was hidden in the depths of her why. Did she learn prostitution from her mother, did a friend tell her there were ways to always have good meals, was she taught as a child that abuse was pain (but pain was at least something), did she long to simply be loved?
Rahab was known for the bed she made available in a city that gave her space in its fringes and embraced her behavior as the norm.
So what was it about a group of strangers—Hebrew spies on a mission to destroy the very city she called home—that caused her to clothe herself in newfound strength? I imagine them knocking on her door and asking for a place to sleep. They paid her, but told her that her body was not what they wanted. They shared her time, her trust, her wisdom. They saw her as a woman. And Rahab felt seen. She felt known. She felt alive. And so, she protected the men, believing in their words of freedom and hope beyond the battle that raged both around her and within her.
Rahab risked it all for peace—a peace that far surpassed the understanding of what was to happen to the city that had tucked her away in its outer walls. That peace was palpable to her, embracing her as she was, without reservation or expectation. She asked only for one thing of the spies: a place in the future they were building.
Though the city that had given her space would fall, she held confidence in a future that was giving her a place.
Little did she know that their future would forever honor her. Her name would not be changed, though her life would forever find a new place in the DNA of Jesus. She would remain Rahab—beyond boundaries, like the peace she found. I pray to be like her – willing to sacrifice all that I know for all that is better.
2020, you understand Rahab, don’t you? You carry the reputation of a story written by others about you. You are condemned to the outer walls of our lives as so much around us seems to be laid waste. And yet, there it is within your days—a newfound strength that says, “There is peace to be found here on the fringes. There is something far wider and broader and more spacious for your soul. There is still a future and a hope. Your life is a heritage for holy things. And you are part of the pedigree. And unexpected peace welcomes you home…”
What walls hold you right now? What battles rage around you and within you? There is peace, love. Palpable peace. It is ready to become your own, deep within the DNA of Jesus. Right now. Even now.
Oh, and here’s a playlist for this unexpected Advent.