There are going to be times when we just don’t understand what is going on. There are going to be times when we are feeling overwhelmed by all the things. As I write this post, we are in the middle of a world-wide shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a historic, once in a lifetime tragedy. It’s lonely not being able to go out and see our friends and family. My girls are keeping busy with their school. They are having dance classes on the computer and we just learned that the rest of their competition season is cancelled. My husband has been working from home, taking over our master bedroom so that he can focus with everything else going on in the house around him. My pet care business has dried up completely.
It’s hard to see where God is taking us with so much strife surrounding us. There are people who have lost their livelihoods and businesses that have closed and will not reopen after this. People are hurting. Many across this country have died. It makes sense to run and hide in fear – like the Israelites did when they heard the report from the spies sent into the promised land. It feels impossible.
But, I believe that God has another plan!
Jehoshaphat is Surrounded
Check out 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat has become the King of Judah. We learn in chapter 19 that he took the time to clean up the idols and other things that had gotten in between God and the people. He organized leaders around him to help him carry the load…Then, just when things were starting to look good, they were surrounded by not just one enemy but three armies joined together to attack them!
Sounds familiar, right? Just when we think we have things figured out, here comes another catastrophe to knock us off our feet! I know I had a really great start this year. My pet care business picked up and I was earning more than last year, the girls homeschooling was on track for our best year yet. And then, along came a global pandemic. My clients scrambled to cancel. We scrambled to make sure we had enough supplies to hunker down in our homes for a while. And then, we waited. We tried to listen to our leaders and follow their instructions, but with so many conflicting messages it’s hard to know just what we should do!
I am so grateful that God has provided an example for us in Jehoshaphat! So, what was Jehoshaphat’s response?
Shaken, Jehoshaphat prayed. He went to God for help and ordered a nationwide fast. The country of Judah united in seeking God’s help—they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to God.2 Chronicles 20: 2-4 (MSG)
Jehoshaphat was shaken. It’s okay to feel out of sorts, confused, or even overwhelmed at times. But, look at how he responded. He went to God and he lead the people to God as well. When we feel overwhelmed, our first step is to turn to God. Then, we need to bring others with us! So, how did Jehoshaphat approach God? Let’s read on…
Then Jehoshaphat took a position before the assembled people of Judah and Jerusalem at The Temple of God in front of the new courtyard and said, “O God, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven above and ruler of all kingdoms below? You hold all power and might in your fist—no one stands a chance against you! And didn’t you make the natives of this land leave as you brought your people Israel in, turning it over permanently to your people Israel, the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived here and built a holy house of worship to honor you, saying, ‘When the worst happens—whether war or flood or disease or famine—and we take our place before this Temple (we know you are personally present in this place!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give victory.’2 Chronicles 20:5-9 (MSG)
Here, we see Jehoshaphat standing in front of the entire nation of Judah worshiping God for who He is and reminding God and the people of His promises to them! He praised God as the powerful ruler of all earth and heaven. Then, he listed the great things that God had done in the past – bringing them out of Egypt, providing for them through the wilderness years, driving out their enemies from the Promised Land… and then, he presented his problems and gave God the credit for the victory before it was delivered. And, God responded. He spoke through a prophet and told them that He would fight this battle for them. All they needed to do was to stand firm. So, Jehoshaphat and all the people praised God that day. They got up the next morning, dressed for battle, and headed down to confront their enemies. Jehoshaphat appointed a choir to lead them…
As soon as they started shouting and praising, God set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir as they were attacking Judah, and they all ended up dead. The Ammonites and Moabites mistakenly attacked those from Mount Seir and massacred them. Then, further confused, they went at each other, and all ended up killed. As Judah came up over the rise, looking into the wilderness for the horde of barbarians, they looked on a killing field of dead bodies—not a living soul among them. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to carry off the plunder they found more loot than they could carry off—equipment, clothing, valuables. It took three days to cart it away! On the fourth day they came together at the Valley of Blessing (Beracah) and blessed God (that’s how it got the name, Valley of Blessing).2 Chronicles 20:22-26 (MSG)
God Of The Impossible
You see, we serve a God who is bigger than all of our problems. He is stronger than all of our enemies – even when they team up against us! Nothing is impossible with God! Ask Him what He wants you to do, lay out your concerns before Him, and then pour out your heart in worship as you obey his direction. Sometimes, you will need to stand firm, other times you will be given a task to complete. Whatever He tells you, be obedient. Then, sit back and watch God do what He does best – THE IMPOSSIBLE!
I have been pondering this thought from a devotional book I have been reading lately…
What things are possible for you today through faith? All things are possible, because your faith is in the God who knows no impossibilities.Roy Lessin, Because of Jesus, Today is Your Best Day: Devotions to Fill Your Heart with Hope. Copyright 2018.
God’s promises are certain. There is no chance of Him changing his mind or not being able to do what He has promised. He has backed them all to the hilt. He has taken great risk in allowing us to do his work and live out his promises. Claim them! Remind Him – the way a child who has been promised ice cream for completing a chore will remind you until you FINALLY give them ice cream! Over and over and over and over again, remind Him – and yourself – of His promises.