Dwight Fletcher | Yes, I can breathe again - Part 2
This week is the final installation of the Yes I Can series. Over the past two months we have looked at recapturing and rekindling our hopes, dreams and passions; looking at Yes I Can Dream Again, Yes I Can Laugh Again, Trust Again and, in these last two weeks Yes I Can Breathe Again.
Last week we began exploring what we should do when we feel overwhelmed. Feelings of being overwhelmed happen to all of us at various stages in our lives. A classic example is during the hurricane season, when we prepare for storms. If a Harvey, Irma or Maria should hit, we try our best to be ready. We buy extra food supplies and batteries and batten down our homes.
We also try to be prepared for storms in other areas of our lives. But even good news can bring some stress - like the wedding proposal, the new baby or the job promotion. We try to be sensible and realistic about the possibility of these events, but sometimes they hit more like the recent earthquakes in Mexico - one after the other and totally unexpected.
One of the most common complaints that people have in the modern world is: 'I just often feel overwhelmed'. We are being bombarded on every side by many things. So, what do you do when you feel overwhelmed?
Last week we looked at King Jehoshaphat who was experiencing good things in his nation, when suddenly he heard that three enemy nations had joined together against him. That was overwhelming! But, "Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah." 2 Chronicles 20:3 NIV.
From this account we saw that Jehoshaphat first turned to God for help, focused on God and not the problem and admitted his inability to defend himself and his nation against this vast army. When he did this God responded.
When you turn to God, focus on Him and admit your inability to solve the problem, God says: Relax - it's my battle not yours! In verse 15,"This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."
I'll handle it God said to Jehosophat -"You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you... and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord."2 Chronicles 20:17 NIV.
Notice they worshiped rather than worried. So, the next thing they did and that we should do when we feel overwhelmed is:
THANK GOD IN ADVANCE!
This is a very unusual battle strategy. Verse 21 says, "Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army..." This was God's battle so the proper response was bold, audacious worship. What Jehoshaphat did seemed like nonsense, but it made perfect God-sense.
If your scholarship money has run out, praise God for having got you into the prestigious university in the first place, in anticipation that He will continue to provide for you.
But look at the power of praise, when you thank God in advance. "As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." 2 Chronicles 20:22 NIV.
As it was with Jehoshaphat, afterward you will:
FIND THE BLESSING IN THE BAD
When you let God fight your battles, you get blessed beyond what you can even handle, so that you will have to share your blessings with other people. Verse 24 says "When the men of Judah came to the place ... they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; ...they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value - more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it..."
If you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, God is waiting for you to trust Him completely. He loves to demonstrate his power in very ordinary flawed individuals like you and me. God will do it so that those around us will see and trust in Him. Then we will be able to sigh with relief and shout with joy "Yes, I Can Breathe Again".