April 8, 2011

Why Does Love Always Feel Like a Battlefield?

Those lyrics from a current Jordin Sparks song keep ringing in my head as I try to formulate my thoughts for this post.  Because, truthfully, my life has felt like a battlefield more often than not this past year.  And I've been reminded that we were never promised that this life would be without hardships. 

Satan has made every effort to leave me feeling defeated.  You see, Satan wants me to wallow in pity and despair.  He wants me to think that there is no use in fighting because he will ultimately win.  He uses every method at his disposal to convince me that if I'm "good" enough, good things will come my way.  That maybe, just maybe, the trials in my life are the result of not checking off the right boxes and doing all the Christian-like stuff I'm "supposed" to be doing.

In the midst of all these lies, God gently whispers, "The battle is not yours."  These are the words I heard spoken to my heart as I desperately cried out to him last week.  After yet another problem with the child that has set out to make my daughter's life hell this year.  After hearing that the foreclosure on a property we financed was delayed yet again because the family had filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy.  After our new house had yet another plumbing problem.  After feeling that I'd done everything right, for it all to turn out so wrong.  He has lifted my chin to the hills to show me where to find my help. 

King Jehoshaphat, too, found himself in very difficult circumstances.  A huge army was coming against the Israelites.  Though he was alarmed, he called for a fast throughout the land.  Then, he calmly gathered the people together and made these bold statements. 

"'If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in Your presence before this temple that bears Your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and You will hear us and save us.'"

"'For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.'"

Then, the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel, and spoke to the assembly. 

"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. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.'"  (2 Chronicles 20)

With faces to the ground, King Jehoshaphat and all of the people gathered there cried out in worship to the God Who Delivers. 

What happened the next morning was nothing short of a miracle.  King Jehoshaphat continued leading his people in worship.  He didn't care that they may have labeled him a lunatic.  He even went so far as to appoint men to go ahead of his army, singing their hearts out to the LORD.  As their voices rang in praise, God set an ambush against those who were invading Judah.  In all the commotion, the armies destroyed each other.  Can you imagine the look on the faces of the Israelites as they marched forward, fully prepared for battle, finding the bodies of all those soldiers lining the desert floor?  Crazy.  Incredible.  Awesome.  The work of a Holy God. 

After Jehoshaphat and his men carried off the plunder, which took them 3 days to collect, they assembled for a time of thanksgiving in a place they named the Valley of Praise.  They went home, rejoicing all the way, knowing that God had been faithful.  He had kept His Word to deliver them.

Worship.

Thanksgiving.

Praise.

God delivered His people, not based on what they had done for Him.  Not because they were mentally and physically prepared to fight.  Not because they worked to solve the problem on their own.  No, His deliverance came because they took the time to glorify the only One Who could save them. 

There is power in worship, thanksgiving, and praise.  Power to lift human eyes off of ourselves and our circumstances to see His ability to fight all of our battles.  Meet all of our needs.  Satisfy all of our longings. 

Lift up your eyes to the hills.  There you will find all the help you will ever need.  (Psalm 121)



***Email Subscribers:  If the video does not show up, here's the link to "I Will Lift My Eyes" by Bebo Norman.

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