Growing up, whenever any dramatic event happened in my household, my Mum would always have the solution.... And, almost always, that solution was a cup of tea. Tea solved everything. Whatever came our way, you could count on Mum to refill the kettle, reach into the cupboard for a couple of mugs and get out the teabags.
In 2 Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat finds himself in a bit of a pickle… Surrounded by war, corrupted rulers and in the midst of a messy and divided kingdom, he’s informed that there are 3 large armies on their way to wage war against him and all of Judah. Not great news. Not something even the strongest cup of tea could resolve. I wonder what you do when you receive bad news? What, or who, is your first point of call? If we got wind of a rather large army headed towards Norwich, what would we do? I think it’s safe to say, a few of us would tweet about it, others might hop on the first train to London Liverpool Street, whilst the rest of us might head to the shops to grab a bottle of gin and a bag of chips (because apparently gin and chips is a thing here…!?) For King Jehoshaphat, the plan of action seemed obvious. Pray. ‘Shaken, King Jehoshaphat prayed. He went to God for help and ordered a nationwide fast. The country of Judah united in seeking God’s help – they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to God.’ (2 Chronicles 20:3-4 MSG)
This sounds familiar... A couple of weeks ago, on 7th February, people from all over Norfolk (and from further afield!) gathered together, in the Cathedral, to seek His face, to worship Him and to cry out to Him for the people in our region who don’t yet know Him, because, although no one has waged war against us (thank you, Lord!!), we are in a battle. A battle to see men and women bought from darkness into light, to see the oppressed set free, to see hearts won by the love and grace of Jesus Christ. The amazing news is that even though it is a battle, and we often find ourselves up against it, our God is, and always will be, victorious.
If we read on in 2 Chronicles 20, we come across this gem - ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ (2 Chron. 20:15 NIV) I don’t know what battle you’re facing today, it might be a difficult family situation, maybe loss or ill-health, it could be a mountain of work you feel it’s impossible to complete. Or maybe it is that your heart is broken for those who don’t yet know the Lord, and you feel weighed down by the weight of the responsibility of seeing them come to Christ. You need to hear this today, ‘the battle is not yours, but God’s’. As we shift our perspective towards a God who is far bigger, far greater, far stronger than we could ever comprehend, we learn to rest in His assurance.
Try praying the words of King Jehoshaphat over your own situation today – ‘Lord… power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.’ (2 Chron. 20:6, 12)