I was reading a book last week - one that had sat on and in and around my dresser for months (oh the perks of being the church librarian) with the bookmark stuck halfway through and me finding many other things to do (and read) rather than finishing that one book. But I finally trudged my way back to it, as an item on the checklist that just needed to be done (because oh how it hurts me to declare a book unfinished).
I wondered later if it hadn't been so delayed because the message I ran across, the token spiritual lesson in the cliche Christian Fiction genre, was so timely for one facing a New Year not knowing what will come.
As the main character faced a situation from which she saw little hope of escape, she was inspired to read of Jehoshaphat. As a king of Judah his story is found in 2 Chronicles. When Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah saw a great army, outnumbering them many times over, rising against them, they had little hope for escape - little hope, that is, apart from God - who is the greatest Hope there is. His response to them, "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . . You will not need to fight in this battle" (2 Chronicles 20:15-16).
For the main character of this particular book, there was great hope that in her weariness this battle was not hers to fight, but the Lord's. In the grand tradition of many a work of fiction, of course, the battle was won, and all worked out in the end.
But I do believe there is great truth here.
As we have firmly settled ourselves into this New Year, we still can't imagine what is to come. I looked over faces this past Christmas, in my church and my newsfeed, and my heart broke knowing that at that time last year, one woman did not know she would wake up in the middle of the night to a nightmare and her husband gone before she could say good-bye, another woman had not known her husband would kiss her good-bye on his way to work and never return home. A mother didn't know she would lay down for a nap and wake to find her baby taken in his sleep. These aren't the things people imagine would ever happen to them. And so often we don't know when it is the last Christmas or last day or last hour we will have with someone we love.
And then the New Year turns, and who imagines, at that great precipice of a whole shining New Year, possibly bidding farewell to a year that didn't look so great in our eyes, or simply hoping for more of the same, just a little improved, that only two weeks in those goals and plans we've set for ourselves are wiped away by a cancer diagnosis and a new battlefield of the unkown laid before them, of doctor's visits, treatments, hospital stays, bills. Who planned for that when they kissed their husband at midnight? I'm sure she didn't.
But these battles - even those which already seem lost or maybe just too hard to fight - belong to the Lord. And this year, this week, this day of unknowns, it all belongs to Him.
Let us have the minds of Jehoshaphat who humbly declared to the Lord, he and "all of Judah, with their little ones, their wives and their children" standing before the Lord (oh how it makes my heart happy to see them standing, even with their little ones - not one heart looking away), "For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" (2 Chronicles 20:12-13). How often do we feel that - powerless, not knowing what to do? Yet, let us keep our eyes upon Him.
There are many battles we will face, some of which He will ask us to fight and some of which, like Jehoshaphat, we will come upon and find they were already fought for us, but in either case, with our eyes upon Him, the Battle belongs to the Lord. His victory may not look as we imagined, but His glory will shine.
Le us face this day, what mountain or molehill may come, with our eyes upon Him.