What to do when you’re broadsided in life


couragea lesson from the past: Take heart

I was preparing to visit with a friend who has cancer and is facing an upcoming delicate removal operation. Knowing that we were to have a time of prayer and inspirational reading together towards the end of my visit, as is sometimes our habit, I wanted to be up to the occasion and offer my friend something besides mere human sympathy and so I was asking the Lord to in some way prepare me especially for the visit. What God did was give me such a wonderful insight and inspiration beforehand during my morning personal devotions, from 2 Chronicles 13, which I was able to share with my friend.

You can read the passage for yourself if you like: I’ll give a little rendering of it as follows. This goes way back to roughly 1000 BC., when a king named Abijah, a grandson of King Solomon of Jewish historical fame,  is ruling what’s left of the Judean throne against insurmountable odds. Civil war has torn the once united Jewish kingdom of 12 tribes apart and there is a power struggle taking place. The 10 northern tribes having rebelled have established themselves as a separate kingdom and the two remaining tribes, from which the royal line proceeds are united as a much smaller kingdom, basically the remnants of the former. Who will prevail?

The situation is bleak. Outnumbered 2-to-1, the Judean king, knowing he and his people are in the right, (he holds the royal bloodline), seeks diplomatically to avoid further warfare between them. When his peace efforts are rebuffed he knows that they have no choice but to stand and fight. At this point the king declares before his people the rightness of their cause and their utter faith in God as both savior and protector of the nation. Indeed, the truth and rightness of their cause seem certain, the outcome not so much.

At this point, when resolve is set and they are determined to proceed to save the kingdom, they are thrown a ringer. They look about them to discover that not only are they seriously outnumbered but that the enemy has seized the opportunity as they pursued diplomatic channels, to ambush them before and behind. They are surrounded. Now their precarious situation seems on even shakier grounds, victory much less certain. What are they to do?

They really only have two choices, cave in to fear and let the situation get the better of them, or to stand and fight, believing that God not only can but will deliver them. They choose the latter. And the final outcome is that they win a giant and improbable victory, overcoming the superior odds of their enemies and accomplishing the will of God in the bargain.

The whole account struck me as to what an amazing picture this is as applied to our spiritual life and walk today. As a believer and having a personal relationship with the Lord, it is relatively easy to know and believe the rightness of your cause so to speak, to recognize that the Lord is indeed with you, and to be committed in your situation, to pursue both progress and success.

But then what happens? Some situation(s) arise: adversity, trouble, sickness or what have you; you are ambushed, so to speak, broadsided by a situation that you didn’t see coming and what are you to do? This is the time and circumstances that your faith is put to the test.

Do you cave in to doubt and defeat, let the situation get the better of you? Or do you in faith commit yourself and your situation to the Lord? And do you fight on and fight through that thing, trusting that God is really on your side?

It’s one thing to know there’s a God out there somewhere, it’s another to know personally, to have that heartfelt faith that God is indeed with YOU. Some people struggle with that, they believe that there is a God or there must be a God, but more in a generic way. They don’t’ necessarily have the faith and assurance that He cares for and is concerned about little-old-them in their circumstances, much less that he is concerned enough to fight on their side to bring about their desired end. And then there is always the nagging doubt issue, that maybe you’re wrong about this or that, or maybe you’ve sinned too much or are too bad to be able to expect anything of or from God.

But to have that assurance that He is indeed with you personally, takes something more. You have to know and believe that God is both with you personally and that He’s with your circumstances and conditions, in fact, He’s often either engineered or allowed those circumstances and conditions and He’s going to take you through them

It’s no use to pray for the situation to go away, or to pray simply for rosy days and sunny skies, sans difficulty and possible defeat. You have to go with Him through the circumstances believing that He is in control and will never let you down, that your cause in Him and His cause in you is not going to fail and be defeated.

Indeed, as the Psalmist cried: “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.”

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