“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
I came across this little Bible gem yesterday as I was perusing my Twitter feed. These words pierced my heart.
These days it seems that I am stuck in limbo. For the past several years, I was sure that God was calling me to rostered leadership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as an Associate in Ministry. I had completed all the theological education and self-reflection and received final approval for call from my Synod’s candidacy committee three years ago. I had assumed throughout the process that my local congregation would issue that first call. It never came.
I continued looking for a call that fit my gifts, skills, and passions, sure that I was following the path I discerned God had set before me. I mean I looked. I sent my paperwork all across the country, but the need for rostered lay leaders with my profile is quite limited. At any given time, one or two positions opens for someone like me. Most of them are in far-flung places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. Having grown up in California and spending the last 20 years in Florida, I know that the winter weather in these climes is too extreme for me. Finally, after three years of fighting to fulfill what I believed was God’s will, I gave up. I put my candidacy on hold. Since then, I have been trying to discern where and what God wants me to do. My daily prayer is “God, tell me what I should do. I have no clue.” If you have ever been in that place, I know you understand the feeling of utter helplessness. Nothing you do works out the way you have planned and you find yourself fearing the unknown. I know I do.
These words, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” were spoken by King Jehosephat of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) nearly 3,000 years ago. Jehosephat was a good, Godly king. He led his people with justice, mercy and the fear of the Lord. Because of his faithfulness to Yahweh, he had been spared much of the warfare that surrounded him unlike his counterpart, King Ahab of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) who ultimately met his demise when he failed to heed the word of God’s prophet Micaiah and led his troops into battle and died after being hit by a stray arrow.
Now, Jehosephat finds that he is surrounded by enemies: Moabites, Ammonites, and Menuites. He is afraid, but instead of devising a battle plan and rallying his troops, “he set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the towns of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 20:3-4) He led his people in prayer for God’s guidance and protection. They laid their fear of the unknown at the feet of Yahweh.
Listen to the Lord’s reply: “Do not fear or be dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s … This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf.” (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17) The people fell to the ground and worshipped their Lord. They sang hymns of faith to the one true God, their Deliverer, Yahweh. The next day, they did as they Lord commanded, they took their position, stood firm, and waited. The battle never reached them as their enemies turned on each other and destroyed one another.
Through the millennia, God’s word of comfort reaches us. In our efforts to plan the path of our lives, God is there reminding us our future is His battle to fight, not ours. He will devise the plan for victory. We need to go where he commands, stand firm, fix our eyes on him, and wait for the victory of the Lord on our behalf.
Lord, God of the nations, grant us strength to lay our fear of the unknown at your feet, trusting in your victory on our behalf. Let us stand firm in your promises and turn our eyes to you and you alone. In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray. Amen
Learning to fix my eyes on Him,
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