I really love the Ladies Bible Study at our church, and love getting to know the ladies that attend. I definitely believe that in our society, I was loosing quality time with people. It is so easy just to send an email or text or facebook message and never actually talk. In some ways, that is great for me because when I want to talk (i.e. 2am) very few others are up. Sure, I interact with people at work, but it is usually small talk or about work. I use to interact with other mom’s when Mary was in dance, and that was like weekly therapy. When she stopped dancing, I lost my free therapy. I have my few close friends, and they are awesome. I would prefer to have a few close friends than multiple “friends – it is all about the quality, not the quantity. But often, that talking with friends is through technology.
When we started attending our church, it was easy just to go and disappear, even though it was small. Actually, I always said my next church would be huge, so I could be just there… and well, we ended up at a little church in the woods – with no regrets I must add. But, then I wanted to know the ladies more. In the churches I have grown up in, the women usually met, they were neighbors, they were friends beyond the church’s walls. It is so easy to just become the wallflower, but then you miss out on so much. I just had no idea how much I would have missed out until our Ladies Bible Study. I so love getting with them and learning about them and feeling like I can pour out my weaknesses with no judgment. They share their wisdom and it feeds my soul, often in places I didn’t even realize I needed fed. I am so blessed to have listened to God to start this, even though every ounce of me just wanted to stay on my pew (just one more comfort zone).
All of my life, I believe I have represented myself as the strong one. Many think I am the one who holds it all together. In fact, my friend was very surprised that I fall apart and even cried myself to work on Saturday. It is easier for me to put up that front than to trust and share my deepest fears. I am sure I am not alone. But, you know that may be one of my biggest weaknesses, because it takes more courage to be honest than live a life hidden with a smile. I think in my blog, I have started tearing down that image, that I am in fact human.
So the lesson (2 Chronicles 20) we talked about today was King Jehoshaphat and his response to three armies joining to attack him. Of note, I don’t even remember learning this Bible Story as a child. My absolute human response would NOT have been his response. He hears the that the army is coming and what does he do first.. 1. resolved to inquire of the Lord then 2. proclaimed a fast then 3. gathered the entire town and they prayed and fasted. His prayer pretty much was praising God for all He had done. And ends in saying in his prayer – “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” His focus went to God, instead of the battle ahead.
The Spirit of the Lord does come to them and says “Do not be afraid… For the battle is not yours, but Gods.” And then gives them the battle strategy. They obey. At the beginning of the battle, they are so secure that it is God’s battle, that they sent out men first just to sing to the Lord to praise him! While they praised God, the other armies were ambushed and killed. Just as God promised, the battle was his.
- When I face a battle in life, in fact enduring a few now, often the last thing I do is inquire of the Lord. I generally put together a game plan and if it doesn’t work out, well, then my prayer life kicks into place.
- He fasted. If I am going through a battle, I am looking for anything to eat to comfort me. The last thing I would think of is fasting.
- He gathered the town and they did it together. First of all, he must have been a strong Godly leader that they would join him and trust him. I am thinking I would be saying, are you sure we shouldn’t be getting our weapons together?
- He praises God in prayer and just admits they are powerless and they are going to keep their focus on God. WOW. I would have a hard time admitting the powerlessness, and I get so busy coming up with my own solution, that my eyes come off of God.
- If I am getting ready for battle, I rarely think about singing praises to God for His deliverance before it is even given. However, I may sing praises after the battle is won.
I was so challenged and humbled by this example. I was blessed by the conversation and the tears shed. In this year of being intentional, the one area I have to get in order is my battle plan. I need to
- be a leader like Jehoshaphat so that I can be an example to my children, that when we face a battle, we go to the Lord first.
- call in my community of friends and ask for them to join me in prayer. This involves trusting others to support me and trust them with my deepest needs
- Keep my eyes upon God instead of the battle ahead
- Remember that the battle is not mine, but God’s – if I just take it to him and wait for the battle plan (listening and waiting – easier said then done)
- Praise Him because of Who He is and not what I want Him to do for me.
- Just believe that He will Deliver.
One of the resounding messages in our Bible study has been the “Battle is not mine, but God’s”. He has the perfect view of what lies ahead… oh that I have the faith… may I intentionally hand it over!