There are times in life when we just feel as if there is nothing we can do. We can’t fix or change the situation and life seems impossible.
There is a great story about a situation that seemed impossible to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 2. He was feeling desperate. The Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites were coming to fight against him in Jerusalem. There was a vast number coming and they were getting closer. There was no time to prepare and this left the King feeling very helpless, it seemed that there was nothing that he could do.
Have there been times in your life when it felt like everything was coming down on you? Maybe you feel like that right now. You see it coming, and it seems that there is absolutely nothing you can do. King Jehoshaphat had these vast armies coming at him and he wasn’t able to prepare.
- Maybe you have an overwhelming number of expenses hanging over your head and you don’t know where the money will come from to pay all of the bills.
- Maybe it’s cancer that is spreading or some other illness warring on a loved one’s body or your body and you are left feeling helpless.
- Or maybe it’s your adult son or daughter who has made wrong choices and now faces court sentencing that will soon mean a prison term.
Whatever it is you are not able to fix it or change it. What do you do in such a desperate situation? Kin Jehoshaphat chose to seek the Lord and then he proclaimed a fast for all those joining him. Many gathered before him and he stood up and prayed.
He begins his prayer by recalling how the Lord has met them in their troubles, in their needs, and in their helplessness before. Have you seen God at work meeting you in previous times of difficulty?
King Jehoshaphat tells the Lord that no matter what kind of disaster comes upon them, they will stand before Him and cry to Him in their distress. They know where their help comes from. They know that the Lord will hear and will answer. It has been their experience with the Lord to see Him work on their behalf and they come to Him in faith. King Jehoshaphat’s confidence is fully in the Lord’s ability, he knows that he himself is helpless.
The king went on in his prayer telling the Lord of their previous dealings with these who were about to come against them. He reminds the Lord that He had not allowed them to be invaded, but these armies were coming to drive them out of the land that the Lord had given them. King Jehoshaphat asks the Lord if He wouldn’t bring judgment upon these armies because Israel is powerless before such a vast number of warriors.
And then, there is this key phrase in the king’s prayer. He tells the Lord, “We do not know what to do, but we look to You.” Wow, that is a prayer of helplessness. The feasible options have run out for us, there is nothing we can do. That is what the King is telling the Lord, he is saying I now am helpless in this situation, but I know You are able, so “we look to You.”
When we come to that place of helplessness, we can place all of our hope and trust in the Lord and look for Him to act. Are you in that place, helpless, there is nothing more that you can do? Don’t give up, keep reading because our great God is amazing.
So, the story doesn’t end there, God hears and speaks to one in the crowd by His Spirit. The Spirit tells them not to be afraid, and not to be discouraged, because the battle is not theirs, it is the Lord’s. Can you feel the peace wash over you?
Think about your situation the one that has left you feeling helpless. The battle against evil is not ours. The battle against the sin in this world is not ours. Satan has come to deceive and destroy. He has come to discourage and send you into despair. Satan does not want you to find hope in God. But the Lord has told us the Truth, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). We only need to call on Jesus and the enemy will flee.
The Lord goes on to tell the Israelites exactly what to do, they must walk in faith knowing that “YAHWEH is with them.” God’s with us too, Immanuel literally means, “God with us.” We have His presence, and access to His power.
Now you may be thinking, yes, but I prayed for this person who was dying in hopes that the Lord would save her life, but she died. And my friend’s son has been in prison for years, despite our prayers for his freedom. I know we often cannot understand the ways of the Lord.
The point of seeking Him is that in our helplessness there is no one else to go to that has the power to change things but Him. He is the one that can lead us, comfort us, and make His presence known to us in the midst of the situation. He is truly our Hope in our helplessness.
King Jehoshaphat listened to the Lord’s instruction through His Spirit, and followed His directions. They went out to the battlefield singing and praising God. Yes, in their helplessness and in their desperation, in the midst of this impossible situation, they trusted God and sang praises to His name.
They knew God’s faithfulness, and the Lord worked on their behalf setting an ambush against their enemies. Those that came to war against Israel ended up destroying each other. Israel found the place where the war was to take place covered in corpses.
And as if that wasn’t good enough, King Jehoshaphat and the people gathered the plunder. They were busy for three days gathering the abundance of goods and valuables. They found so much that they count even carry it all. The fourth day they spent praising God. They went back to the temple to worship the One who helped them in their helplessness.
We often strive in every and any way we can think of to make the situation work or at last to get it to seem better, we try everything humanly possible. And sadly enough, we often forget to even seek the Lord in our helplessness.
What situation in your life is leaving you feeling helpless right now? Have you tried everything? Are you discouraged and ready to give up? When we come to a place of desperation, let’s remember King Jehoshaphat’s prayer, “We do not know what to do but we look to You.” Truly, the Lord has the answer. And take time to recount to the Lord His amazing faithfulness as you cry out to Him in your desperation and helplessness.
I will be honest, there are times that I don’t think that His way is best. I have it all figured out and want it to go my way. But EVERY single time He works it out for His glory and I can tell you that He satisfies my heart through it. His ways are perfect. His way may not be easy, it may lead us through wilderness places, but He will meet us in them and hold us in His love.
His loving presence is what I need all of the time, and He is the One I will look to in my helplessness. What about you? Will you go to Him and cry out, Lord I need You!?