I’m grateful for a not great life.
I’m grateful for a life of struggle, pain, fear, persecution, and temptation. Why?
Because my not great life leads me to my very great Lord.
Consider a difficult time in the life of Jehoshaphat – one of the kings of Judah. For the most part, Jehoshaphat did what was right. It’s written that the “LORD was with [him], because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David.” (2 Ch 17:3).
But there came a time in Jehoshaphat’s reign where three nations came up against him for battle, and the Scriptures clearly state that he was afraid (2 Ch 20:3). Here we have a true story of true fear. So the question is, what does Jehoshaphat do with this fear?
Well, he prays. And I believe the general answer to this question is found in the last line of his prayer:
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Ch 20:12)
You see, if Jehoshaphat always knew what to do (in his own mind), then why would he need to look on God? It took his humility in his fear to come to the place of seeking God.
Jehoshaphat’s fear of an impending fatal battle led him to seek His great Saviour.
3 Godly Responses to Trials
Consider these few things he was led to that can inspire us to look to God in times of trial:
1) He “set his face to seek the LORD.” (2 Ch 20:3). This is the first thing we’re told Jehoshaphat does in response to hearing the bad news. He directs his attention to God. I believe the real principle here, however, is not necessarily found at the surface. You see, Jehoshaphat needed to have been devoting himself regularly to God in order to go to Him immediately when in need. To set your face to seek the LORD in response to struggle is a practice that begins to take root before the struggle.
2) He prays with those affected by the struggle (2 Ch 20:5-12). Jehoshaphat gathers the peoples and prays. Now, note the content of his prayer. First, he affirms who God is. He wants to remind himself and all the people that God is in heaven and is the ruler of all the kingdoms of the nations. Second, he brings to mind what God has done. And third, he prays that God would do something to save them. This is a great model for prayer, especially when in times of great need:
1) Declare who God is, 2) declare what He’s done, 3) and then ask what you think you need.
3) He encourages belief in God (2 Ch 20:20). As the battle grew near, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Believe in the LORD your God… believe his prophets…” He doesn’t sulk in sorrow at the thought of this difficult battle, nor does he try and devise some kind of military maneuver on the fly and get the soldiers on board. He simply, and profoundly, encourages everyone to believe in God.
The fear of this seemingly negative battle proved to be an opportunity for incredibly positive action. I bet Jehoshaphat was thankful for this trial. Why? Because his trial led Him to seek the LORD, to pray great prayers with others, and to encourage belief in God.
So, don’t fret and worry because your life isn’t great. Use the “not great” circumstances in your life as springboards to grow in your faith in God.