Do you see what is going on around you and feel overwhelmed? This is what author Lysa Terkeurst has to say:
Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.” 2 Chronicles 20:3 (NIV)
"Do you ever look around at all that is happening in our world today, or even within the realm of your own personal life, and feel fear grip your heart?
I think it’s a feeling we have all faced at some point in our lives. We crave safety and certainty and simplicity as we raise our families, serve God and live out our Christian beliefs in both private and public. But so many things feel threatening to those desires.
How do we navigate both our fears and our faith? How do trust God when everything around us in the world today leaves us feeling quite alarmed?
One of my favorite kings to study over the last few years has been King Jehoshaphat. Although his story is only found in tucked away parts of Scripture, what I really love is how we can clearly see his absolute resolve to trust in the Lord.
King Jehoshaphat is mentioned in both 1 & 2 Kings, but there’s also a unique story about this faithful king of Judah in 2 Chronicles 17–20. King Jehoshaphat was connected in alliance through marriage to the wicked King Ahab since his son married Ahab’s daughter. They ruled around the same time. We may question his decision to be connected to a wicked king like Ahab through marriage, but Scripture teaches us that Jehoshaphat was a good king who walked in the ways of David his father. Rather than seeking false gods, Jehoshaphat sought after the Lord; therefore, God was with him (17:4).
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Jehoshaphat never faced fear-inducing situations. In 2 Chronicles 20 we find that three countries have banded together, forming a massive army to attack Jehoshaphat’s much smaller country of Judah. If ever there were a time for a king to feel alarmed, this would have been it. But Jehoshaphat didn’t fall apart.
I am both inspired and challenged by how he chose to react to his overwhelming circumstances: “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.” (2 Chronicles 20:3)
Do you see how King Jehoshaphat’s name is bookended in two realities: alarmed and resolved? He had both the feelings of alarm that are a natural human response to his threatening situation and a supernatural resolve to inquire of the Lord. The resolve was a predetermined pattern built over time that emerged as naturally as the feelings of alarm rose within him.
I want this for my life. I want my resolve to inquire of the Lord to be my first response, not my last resort when feelings of alarm arise with threatening situations. But to be honest with you, I think I still need some work in this area.
When I get caught off guard, stunned by threatening circumstances in the world, or unexpectedly wounded by a hurtful statement, I can literally feel my body being overrun with a flood of emotions. Based on conversations with different friends of mine with different personalities, it seems like each of us has a go-to feeling that rises up and wants to take over in threatening situations: anger that wants to come out swinging, fear that wants to shrink back and disappear, confusion that wants to talk it out and restore peace quickly, just to name a few.
Though seeking the Lord doesn’t always come naturally as my first response, it is the only way to infuse supernatural strength into my resolve. The more I turn to the Lord in daily struggles, the more natural it is to return to Him in times of unexpected trouble.
Does this mean I’ll never wrestle with feelings of fear? Of course not. But I’m learning that while we can sometimes feel afraid, we don’t have to live afraid. We can be alarmed and resolved at the very same time. We can let our declaration mirror Jehoshaphat’s words to God in 2 Chronicles 20:12b, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Dear Lord, thank You for reminding me that fear doesn’t have to pull me away from trusting in You. Fear can actually be the catalyst to me choosing to trust You more than ever. Today I’m choosing to fix my eyes and my hope on You. The God who is for me, with me, and loves me without end. In Jesus’ Name, Amen."