I have the delightful privilege of being a part of a wonderful ministers’ wives community. Most of our interaction is online through our recently relaunched blog (A Common Bond) or via Facebook, but occasionally we do get to see each other face to face and offer hugs.
Unfortunately, we can’t always have those face to face meetings when we really need them most. Over the past couple of weeks, the Facebook comments and posts have shown that many of us need those real hugs right now. We have shared prayer requests, digital screams, and even a few “I’m with you – I cried all day yesterday, too!” moments. So many are fighting through a rough season, and it is impossible to know how or when the season will end.
As I pray for myself, my ministry friends, and other friends dealing with struggles right now, I can easily feel helpless. I like to fix things, but I cannot fix any of this. I can only pray. Yes, yes, I know prayer is the greatest help I can give, but it also requires surrender. It means admitting that I can do nothing on my own. I would be dishonest if I claimed to always live in that surrender. In fact, honesty demands that I admit this to be a daily, even hourly, battle for me. I want to fix my friends’ problems. I want to fix my own problems. I can’t do it. Oh, how that hurts!
My failure to help could lead me to despair. Or, it could lead me to follow in the footsteps of a king named Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat learned that a “great multitude” was coming to fight against him and his people (2 Chronicles 20:2). In response, he immediately turned to God in prayer, knowing that he could do nothing else. He also requested that all of Judah join him in prayer and fasting. In the midst of the prayer assembly, God answered and promised that He would not only spare Judah, but would fight the battle for them! All they had to do was show up to watch.
I love what happens next. Jehoshaphat and the people did go out to watch God work, but they did not simply stand idle.
They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the Lord your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.” When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. 2 Chronicles 20:20-22 (emphasis mine)
When the people of Judah saw the massive hordes, they did not prepare to fight just in case God decided not to show up after all. Instead, they stepped out in a time of organized, prepared praise and worship. The appointed singers went out before the army, lifting their hearts and voices in songs of praise to the Lord. And at that point, God moved.
This is the child of God I desire to be. I have lived just such a miracle before, praising God and claiming His promise of victory even in the midst of anguish and heartache, but I forget that miracle so easily. As I watch friends struggle and as I battle through my own difficulties, I forget to rejoice in the victory. I focus instead on the tears and the pain. I focus on all I cannot do.
Today I choose to praise. Today I choose to rejoice in His victory. I cannot see the victory from my where I stand right now, but I know it is coming. I do not know how or when, but I do know my God never knows defeat. His victory stands certain. Today I rejoice in what I know is coming. Will you join me?