Four Words – Underlined in Red
Hey friend – I see you out there struggling and I want you to know I’m struggling too. I’ve typically experienced seasons of smooth sailing but now – right now – I’m out on the battlefield all day every day and the enemy is big. These days my feet hit the floor and I’m not even wasting time with the coffee, I’m going straight for my armor because I don’t want to spend a second of my day not waging war. I know you get it, I know you understand and that’s why I wanted to share this with you.
Through this season, I’ve had a favorite verse. Oh, I’ve studied plenty of others but there is one that has been my go to scripture every morning as I start my day and every evening as I end it. In 2 Chronicles 20:6-9 you find Jehoshaphat having just learned that a vast army was coming against him and so he goes out in to the temple courtyard and begins to speak to God. He’s reminding God of all that He has done before and all that He has promised His people. This reminder isn’t to rattle God’s memory but more to remind Jehoshaphat of the God he serves and the God that he can trust.
So, I’ve camped out in that scripture for several months now to remind myself of what God has done before in my life and what He has promised me that He will continue to do. But one day last week, as I sat in the courtyard outside of my home reading those words back to God, my eyes drifted up to several verses before this. In 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 I had underlined several random words in red ink. Words like alarmed, resolved, proclaimed and seek. My eyes just settled on those four words and I let them sink in to my war weary spirit. I can’t tell you when I underlined those words or what was going on at the time but I can tell you what those four words meant to me on that hot, sticky August morning last week.
Alarmed: As I looked at that first word I was struck by the reality that often, as we face hard seasons, we are alarmed at our situations and circumstances. In verse 3, Jehoshaphat was alarmed at the news that a vast army was approaching. He was alarmed! Here’s the thing – and it’s a comforting thing – when we are alarmed by our circumstances, God is not! Whatever is happening in our lives right now, this very minute, it is not a surprise to God. He knew it was coming, he knows our story and we can trust Him with the outcome. When we have that knowledge, we can move from being alarmed to simply trusting God.
Resolved: Verse 3 goes on to say that even though Jehoshaphat was alarmed, he was resolved to inquire of the Lord. So, when we face our situations we can be resolved to inquire of the Lord, we can be resolved to trust and not lose hope, we can resolve to press forward and lean in to the strength of our savior. Resolved simply means being firmly determined to do something. Maybe in your hard situation you can be resolved to not give up hope, resolved to not be afraid or ashamed, resolved to listen to God’s voice over all the other voices in your life. Let’s be firmly determined to trust our Heavenly Father who loves us and wants what’s best for us.
Proclaimed: In verse 3 Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast for all Judah and while I may not be able to proclaim a fast for all the land, I have been known to pray and fast myself. But what this word said to me on that very day last week is that I should be about the business of proclaiming God’s love; proclaiming God’s goodness, His mercy and provision and I certainly should be about the business of proclaiming that He will make good on His promises to me. I should be proclaiming His victory!
Seek: Finally, Verse 4 says that the people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. As I looked at that red underlined word, I was reminded that I find my strength when I seek the Lord. When I rise early to sit at His feet and seek His face and seek His wisdom for the next step I need to take. When I go throughout my day, stopping to pray and seek His will; When I fall asleep at night chatting with Him, seeking his peace and presence so that I can rest. Walking in the valley, up on the mountain, through the dark and through the light just seeking His ways as my own.
So, friend whatever you are facing today, remember that you don’t face it alone. Remember that you serve a big God and He doesn’t want you to be alarmed but rather resolved, seeking His face and proclaiming victory. I hope that those four words, underlined in red, that jumped out at me will jump out at you too. I hope that maybe in some small way they will encourage you and help you find rest as you fight your battles. Put on your armor friend and keep moving forward. Remember – the battle is already won!