NORTH CAROLINA, June 14, 2012 — As a water ski coach, I often see slalom skiers throw themselves into “survival mode.” It never fails: As soon as skiers start getting a little bit behind in the slalom course, they panic. They completely forget the fundamentals of slalom skiing. They bend their arms and pull with all their might in an attempt to power their way to the next buoy, or they grow discouraged and quit.
Slalom skiing, especially in the course, is all about timing and position. One of the hardest things for me to teach a skier is to relax and stay focused when trouble in the course emerges. If skiers remain calm and strong in their position, they are able to obtain the leverage they need behind the boat, and they are often able to successfully round the next buoy and complete the course. Panicking and running full speed ahead in no way helps anyone complete the course.
Similarly, as believers, panicking and growing discouraged will prevent us from successfully completing the course of life we face daily. Like the skier, we are called to maintain our timing and position so that we can tap into God’s power and finish well.
II Chronicles 20 gives a great illustration of the victory that comes when we stay in the Lord’s timing and keep our hearts positioned on God. II Chronicles 20 is the story of Jehoshaphat, a King who was surrounded by enemies. King Jehoshaphat didn’t have hope nor did he have a clue as to what he was to do. Verse 12 says, “For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do.” I don’t know about you, but I have often felt this way. In fact, I think these exact words have come out of my mouth before!
When faced with this incredible situation, it would have been so easy for this King and his people to panic and be overcome by fear and anxiety. How easy it would have been for him to take matters into his own hands and head into enemy lines in his own strength. How easy it would have been for this nation to curl up in a corner discouraged, defeated and overcome with hopelessness.
Although all of the above would have been normal responses to such odds, Jehoshaphat knew the response he needed to take to bring hope and victory into his situation. When he became afraid (20:3), his immediate response was to turn his face to the Lord and present his overwhelming situation to Him (20:3-13). Jehoshaphat then waited for direction from God and thanked Him in advance for what He was going to do. After he presented his request to the Lord, Jehoshaphat left his worries at the feet of the One who could bring victory into this situation.
Because King Jehoshaphat sought God, God answered him. In verse 15, God reminds the King not to be afraid or discouraged because the battle was not his, rather it was the Lord’s. King Jehoshaphat was called to face the enemy (20:16) but he was reminded that he would not need to fight; rather he was to take his position, stand still, believe God and watch as God brought the victory (20:17-20).
As the King and his people took their position of trusting God and His promises, as they thanked and praised Him for what He was going to do in their midst, the Lord brought a victory that only the Lord could do! In verse 33 it says that at the minute that the songs of praise began, the Lord set an ambush against the enemy. The enemy turned on one another and completely and utterly destroyed one another so that not one person was standing (20:22-24).
King Jehoshaphat went from facing a problem of a great enemy to facing the problem of not being able to haul off all the blessings the Lord had for them (20:25). The Lord turned what could have been a valley of defeat into the Valley of Beracah, which means, Valley of Blessing.
I hope this story encourages you as much as it encourages me. Like Jehoshaphat, I know that if I stay in my position of trusting God, believing His Word, and waiting for Him to lead, I will experience victory. I know that as I remain focused on Him and praise Him for what He has done and will do, my enemies will be conquered.
Remember that no matter what you are facing, God is with you and fighting for you. The battle is not yours, it is the Lord’s. Make a decision that will guarantee victory in your life: “Take your position and stand still and see the deliverance of the Lord!” (20:17). Don’t be moved by what you see, feel and hear. Don’t grow anxious by the overwhelming odds against you. Turn your eyes to the Lord and watch Him go to battle for you! Watch as He turns your valley of trials into a valley of blessing!
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