"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.'"
- 2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV
On Christmas Day, I woke up with symptoms of a troublesome ailment that I have been battling for many years. The first thing I thought of was the long drive to my mother's house in another state, where our entire family gathers every year to celebrate the holidays. I didn't think that I could handle the long ride, but I wasn't sure I could handle disappointing my family, either. So I got on my knees and appealed to the Lord for His help. He led me to a familiar passage of Scripture that He enabled me to see in a new light.
A vast army of enemy soldiers was marching against King Jehoshaphat and his people. To the king's credit, he immediately turned to the Lord in prayer. And it was his prayer that caught my attention in my own time of need. Jehoshaphat told the Lord, "We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us." (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV) The words, "We have no power," pierced my hurting soul. I, too, felt powerless against the onslaught of my enemy. Instead of declaring, "I can do all things through Christ," as I normally do, it felt so good and right to turn to my Savior and say, "Lord, I have no power..."
The next thing that Jehoshaphat told God was, "We do not know what to do." (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV) I felt that this statement went against everything that I had been taught about the Word of God and my inheritance in Christ. I had become so accustomed to asking for divine wisdom according to James 1:5 and other verses in the Bible. Nevertheless, I followed Jehoshaphat's lead and confessed, "Lord, I don't know what to do..."
The king concluded his prayer with, "Our eyes are upon You." (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV) Here, Jehoshaphat establishes his focus and his dependence upon God, even though Scripture says that when he first heard the news of a vast army coming against him, he was "alarmed." (2 Chronicles 20:3 NIV) And alarm was what I was wrestling with. But by faith, I pushed my fears aside and set my eyes squarely on God, telling Him, "Lord, my eyes are upon You."
God's response to the king's faith stance spoke to my own heart. "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.'" (2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV) From then on, the main function of the king and his people was to praise and worship the Lord, declaring, "Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever." (2 Chronicles 20:21 NIV) This is one of the best examples in Scripture of how worship wins the war. "As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against [the king's enemies]...and they were defeated." (2 Chronicles 20:22-23 NIV)
God's message to me that Christmas Day enabled me to make it to my mother's house, where I could join with my loved ones in joyful celebration. I still struggled with fear and discouragement off and on that day, but each time I did, I got alone with the Lord and raised my hands to heaven, praising and worshiping Him for His goodness and grace. And thanking Him with all my heart for fighting my battles for me.
Prayer: Lord, I confess that I am utterly powerless to fight my own battles, and today I surrender them all to You. Teach me how to resist fear and discouragement, and to keep my eyes on You. Thank You that as I lift my voice and my hands in praise and thanksgiving, I can trust that my victory is on the way!
- J. M. Farro