Tag Archives: victory through praise

We Don’t Know What to Do…

I don’t know about you, but all the craziness that’s come in 2020 has tempted me to worry a lot. I keep wondering what I can do to change things, but feel completely powerless to do so. It seems like nothing I could do would make a bit of difference. I’d be completely overwhelmed, except for the fact that I’ve been in impossible situations like this before, and those times taught me to cling to the God of the impossible. He has shown up for me in miraculous ways on multiple occasions.

I love this story from 2 Chronicles 20. Basically, God’s people were surrounded by a vast army that was too powerful for them. The king stood up and prayed this “we don’t know what to do” prayer. He confessed his powerlessness, and then proclaimed that their only hope was in God. As the people stood before the Lord and waited, the Spirit of God moved on a prophet who proclaimed, “Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (20:15). On hearing this word the people bowed down in worship— they began to praise Him “with a very loud voice” (20:19). This praise continued as they went into battle the next morning. Scripture says, “When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against [their enemies]..so they were routed” (20:22). Not one enemy escaped while the people of Israel did nothing but praise.

I’ve been feeling particularly powerless lately. Can you relate? I’ve wanted to fix it, to find some magic bullet, to post some wise words on social media that will make people to come to their senses, but I know it would be futile. However, there’s one thing I know to be true. It isn’t futile to set my eyes on God, to proclaim my utter dependence on Him and to make Him bigger than the multitude of problems I face— and that we face as a nation. I believe the outcome would have been far different for the people of Israel if they’d taken matters in their own hands. In fact, scripture is filled with examples of that happening. And I believe our outcome now depends on making a choice to invite Him to come and take over and to drop our prideful desire to control things.

Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of his people. He shows up when we put our hope in him and elevate him above the obstacles we face, and our own flimsy, pride-laden solutions. Right now you may be at a crossroads. I know our country is at one, and we must make a decision. God’s people can act like the world by seeking to control the situation, or we can confess just how weak and powerless we are. Rather than trying to control things, we can invite the One who perfects his strength in our weakness to take over (2 Cor. 12:9). He is our only hope. Will you join me in praying that He will come and help us now?

Mighty God, things are spinning out of control! It’s really scary right now and we don’t know what to do! All our efforts have amounted to nothing, and without you we are sunk! But we choose not to allow circumstances to define or control us. Rather, we choose to shift our attention to you to give you all the glory and praise. You are worthy and you weave all things together for your good purposes (and for ours) as we seek you first (Matthew 6:33, Romans 8:28-29). We need you desperately!

Father, I confess that I’ve been seeking answers more than you. I’ve been making the problems bigger than you, and I’ve been acting like I actually have the power to do something about them. Without you, I can do nothing. I have no power Lord— only You do and I ask You to take over. I relinquish any desire to fix or control it. Only you God can save me. Only you can save this nation. We praise you because of who you are. We worship you, because you are worthy. You are far more worthy to take up space in our minds than all the strife and trouble we are seeing. We praise you because nothing is impossible for you! We praise you because you cared enough about this broken world to come down and be broken on our behalf. Thank you! Come and inhabit our praises Lord and route our enemies and we look to you. Amen

Note: Since someone asked this does not mean we sit back and do nothing, or that we don’t vote. It simply means our first course of action is to look to him and allow him to direct us (notice the Israelites still marched out to battle). It means we make him bigger than all the problems and trust him whatever happens. We don’t have to live in fear. Genuine faith is accompanied by action.

How to Get out of the Wilderness…

It seems I’ve spent the majority of my life in the wilderness Lord. So why does it surprise me when I end up back in it? The Israelites were there because of their sin, so I have to stop and examine my heart. Is there some sin You are trying to burn out of my heart, or is this just life in a fallen world? Perhaps it’s both. Certainly there will be rough terrain between here and eternity, and much of it is just the consequence of being in the world. Some of it is fallout from past sin, but all of it is meant to teach me. While I can’t identify any blatant sin responsible for putting me here, I imagine You would like to use this time to help me identify attitudes that are less than content and grateful. I am supposed to rejoice always, yet, just like the Israelites in the desert, I find myself complaining and defeated. I am supposed to be content in all things, rather I am wishing today away and looking forward to the brighter future I envision. However, I get the feeling that until I can find contentment here in this valley I will not be moving on to that Promised Land that exists in my mind.

After the children of Israel were miraculously delivered from Egypt, they continued to complain about every little obstacle that arose, as if You did not see or care. I guess they figured that if You called them out, You would also make the path easy—but You didn’t. When I read those stories, I think it was ridiculous for them to complain after You had proven yourself over and over. Plus, You were physically manifesting yourself to them in a cloud by day and fire by night. I’ve often judged the Israelites for complaining, but here I am doing the same. Only my obstacles are 21st century problems instead of bitter waters and a lack of meat. For me it is constant demands, a messy house, lack of organization, and difficult people. You have proven yourself to me again and again, yet when a problem arises I act as if You don’t see or care. I complain. Though I think am grumbling about circumstances, in reality I am grumbling against You (Ex. 16:8), because You are sovereign over my circumstances. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10 that the examples in the Old Testament were written for our instruction, so that we can learn lessons about idolatry, immorality, and complaining. He reminds us that those who complained were “destroyed by the destroyer” (1 Cor. 10:10).  “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, and will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Cor.10:11-13).

As I read all of that I realize that You definitely have some work to do in my life! Please forgive me, and help me change from a grumbler to one who praises You in all things. Yes, I praise You daily, but it is not enough. It’s like I tell my husband, he can take all the vitamins in the world, but when he fills his body with junk food he negates the good he’s done. I suppose it’s the same with spiritual health. I can praise You in the morning, but when I fill the rest of my day with complaints, I am working against myself—and You! Please help me to have a constant attitude of thankfulness and praise. Forgive the negativity that I have allowed to rule from time to time. Today help me replace every complaint with thanksgiving, because You are good and worthy of all praise. Today I will choose to be thankful. Amen