Beyond My Control

by Afton Rorvik

I like order. I like lists. I like knowing what tomorrow holds.

Many years ago when the company I worked for merged with another company, I flailed. My position was being threatened by the powers that be. I knew this job, these people. I worked minutes from my house. There was a lot to lose. But more than anything, I hated sitting and waiting for someone else to make decisions about my life.

During that time, I discovered an Old Testament passage that has since become my go-to story when life throws me a challenge beyond my control. This account, found in 2 Chronicles 20, features Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He received news that a huge army was about to attack his kingdom. When Jehoshaphat heard the news, he was alarmed. Who doesn’t feel alarmed when unexpected situations come flying at you?

Jehoshaphat, however, did not wallow in panic or fear. And he did not start drawing up a battle plan or gathering troops. Instead, he gathered the people together to fast and pray. His subjects came from all over Judah to jointly pray and seek the Lord’s help.

Jehoshaphat stood among them and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”  (2 Chronicles 20: 6, NIV) He went on to recite all of the ways God had proved Himself faithful in the past to His people. He ended the prayer by pleading, “For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV, emphasis added)

God responded to their cry. He spoke through a prophet right then and there, and gave reassurance to the people. The prophet told them “Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but Gods’.” (2 Chronicles 20:15 NASB)

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord as well.

So . . . a vast army lurked. And Jehoshaphat did something seemingly illogical and impractical. He worshiped.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t fight life-threatening battles with worship. My knee-jerk response to the unexpected usually involves crawling into myself and focusing on private prayer that goes along the lines of “God, please fix this!”

I need to follow the example of Jehoshaphat in spending time reminding myself of God’s steadfast, powerful, and never-changing character as well as remember the weakness and ineffectiveness of any human effort. And be drawn not into despair but rather into worship.

Worship might take the form of fasting or congregational singing; or it might look like a woman sitting alone in a comfortable living room chair thanking God every morning that He sees, He cares, and He is at work in situations far beyond my control.

I did eventually lose that fabulous job and went on to face a lot of other life challenges. And I’m sure I have many more such challenges ahead of me.

And that is why I return again and again to the story of Jehoshaphat. It pulls me back to worship and helps me make Jehoshaphat’s words my own: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20: 12 NIV)

afton rorvik.jpgAbout the author: Part of the publishing industry since 1987, Afton Rorvik enjoys her roles as wife, mother, friend, editor, and writer. She loves shaping words, reading books by contemplative authors, listening to music, drinking coffee with friends, traveling, and savoring the words in her favorite book—the Bible. In 2014 Afton published Storm Sisters, a story-filled book on how to be present when storms hit a friend’s life. You can learn more about Afton and her ministry on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Afton’s book, Storm Sisters, Friends Through All Seasons,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What unexpected situation have you faced that might have been helped by Jehoshaphat’s story?

35 thoughts on “Beyond My Control

  1. Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing these encouraging words and the beautiful reminder of God’s goodness. My job was eliminated this week, and I was notified by phone. While shocked, and frankly a bit numb, I know that God is faithful and will take care of me and my family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Praying with you that you will find a deep sense of peace as you worship and trust God in the unknown. Looking forward with you too to what God does. 🙂

      Like

  2. Afton, thank you for sharing this story of Jehoshaphat and how it reminds us that God is in control of our circumstances. How awesome that God cares about every detail of our lives! But when we get caught up in the unknown, we forget to worship Him. Such truth here! Your post blessed my morning:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loved your phrase about getting caught up in the unknown and forgetting to worship. I do that so often. Making worship a part of my routine every day seems to help me remember–putting it on the “to do” list.

      Like

  3. Recently our family has been under attack and our hearts have been stretched, punched, and bruised. Had the Lord not been on our side, we would have given up. Yet, we worshipped. We sought His face. He continues to work out all things for our good. Above all, we’ve been reminded that He is a good, good Father.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much! This is beautiful! I am in a battle right now that is massive behind the scenes with getting my license restored back. I do worship the Lord with all my heart in giving thanks for all that only He can do. Sometimes I do feel utterly week, but God wants me to live fearlessly through Him. A lot is riding against me, but I know He is Sovereign over all and I have to do my part with the rest in His hands. I trust God and His Powerful ways in what seems impossible, but all things being possible with Him!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning . . .” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

      Like

  5. Yes! What a wonderful reminder of why we should journal our adventures with God! Just like the king, we can look back and review all of who God is and what He has done for us already, and get confidence that we can trust Him to take care of this next battle too.

    I am eager now to check out more of your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So many situations like this through the years–losing finances, a home, family members health, etc.
    Most recently–a merger in my current company, with many losing their jobs. Early on in the merger process, I posted a small note at my desk that only I could see. “The Lord will go before you…” I started a new position within the company on January 3rd! (The note is still on my desk to remind me.
    Job 42:5 “I had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your story and your note and that you keep it on your new desk. What a great way to remind yourself every day that God sees and cares. 🙂

      Like

  7. Oh my! Did I ever need this today! Bless you for sharing this powerful message, Afton. My 96-year-old mother is very ill and we are doing all we can for her–yet it isn’t enough. My siblings and I are at the point where we, too, are saying “We don’t know what to do!” Our eyes are on the Lord and I know He is faithful. Thank you for blessing me today with your words.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to cindyphdCindy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.