He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s….You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you…The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.’” (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17, 29)
I decided to include all three references to fear in this installment because they apply to the same principle about fear: the battle is the Lord’s, not ours. He is saying that to me right now, specifically because I’m caught up in worrying about many things.
This is not a new lesson, but it is taking on new dimensions, so the Lord keeps repeating the same message: God is better at winning the victory and I need to be still.
Jehoshaphat had many opportunities to learn this lesson – to know that the Lord could be called upon in the times of trouble. I get hung up, not on God being faithful and trustworthy, but how the answers to my prayers will come about. I spend hours wandering the halls of my mind, which are cluttered with the baggage of anxiety. Instead of turning the details over to God as He commands, I leave them alone to fester, taking up space and growing bigger, till I can barely move without panic.
This is exactly the opposite reaction the Lord wants from me. He doesn’t want me sitting surrounded by “what-if’s” or “could-be’s.” He wants me standing firm in the confidence of my faith! I read the Message translation of Jeremiah 29:11 recently and the answer was so clear where God says:
I know what I am doing.
The Lord knows what He is doing. I do not. My freedom comes in trusting Him to work it out, not succumbing to my fear. God is not fazed by my issues, He has a plan and it is going to get done. His vision is clear and decisive. What stands in my way of peace is the willingness to hand over my mental baggage.
Even though I truly desire to see how the Lord is going to deliver me, He asks me to lay down the burden that comes with it. He asks me to hand Him the details and what-ifs, so I can live in the present reality of His love. I can keep trying to figure out the impossible, or I can have the mind of Christ. It’s a simple challenge – stew in the clutter or gain peace when I let Him take over. No doubt the answer will come and right on time too. But it is up to me how much space I make available to receive it.
If your mind is cluttered with worries, visualize handing them to the Lord one by one.
Dearest Lord – I am thankful that even though my heart is full of clutter, You are willing and able to help me clear it out. It is by the power of Your Holy Spirit that I can give my burdens to you and stand with courage against the problems I face. Help me to turn to You as I seek the answers and help me wait patiently to receive them, full of peace and empty of worry. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.