“We can always choose to perceive things differently. You can focus on what’s wrong in your life, or you can focus on what’s right.” Marianne Williamson
The scene in II Chronicles, chapter twenty, did not paint a pretty picture for King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah. A vast army made up of Moabites, Ammonites along with some of the Meunites, prepared to attack Judah. Their predicament seemed hopeless.
How do you handle life’s pressure cooker events? You know, those trials that seem to stretch your rubber band till it almost snaps and breaks. Sometimes we never know what is in us until we’re faced with that kind of stress. The response given by King Jehoshaphat provides tools to face our unpleasant ‘opportunities for growth.’
King Jehoshaphat, even though he was alarmed, “resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah.” (II Chronicles 20:3) He then proceeded to pray to God. He acknowledged God’s attributes. He testified and reminded God how He had acted on their behalf in the past. He proclaimed their faithfulness to God. He humbly recognized their lack of power to face their enemy. King Jehoshaphat ended his prayer with these words: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (II Chronicles 20:12)
I need to take note on how King Jehoshaphat responded. Instead of focusing on the negativity and hopelessness of a situation, I need to redirect my gaze on God’s ability and His character. I need to inquire of God and seek out His answers to my questions.
Last week we were having a new floor put in our kitchen. To stay out of the workers’ way I relegated myself to the basement office. I thought since I couldn’t go anywhere it was the perfect time to conquer the IRS tax exemption form for our nonprofit ministry. No more procrastination. I had worked on it off and on the past several months. I often became overwhelmed at the myriad of questions I didn’t understand.
I took my cue from King Jehoshaphat and humbly inquired God to help me. I declared to God that even though I didn’t know what to do, my eyes were on Him. Even though focusing on all the detailed requirements normally caused me to shut down, it was evident God supplied the grace that was needed. Between God’s instruction, the help from my husband, two friends, and a paralegal, I persevered and got it done.
Our gaze determines our outcome. What or who we focus on will dictate our thoughts, feelings and actions. Where our eyes go during trials can make all the difference between feeling hopeful or hopeless. When life is confusing and you don’t know where to start, begin where King Jehoshaphat began, on his knees in prayer. Humbly inquire God for His answers and direction. Acknowledge to God that even though you don’t have a clue what to do, your eyes will remain on Him.
“When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in. Kristin Armstrong
Relevant Reflections: 1. What ‘opportunity for growth’ is overwhelming you today? 2. Where or on what is your focus set? 3. Take time to hu