Are you up against a wall? Nowhere to turn? At your wits end? It’s comforting to remember that God is not intimidated by the “impossible.” God brought water out of a rock (Exodus 17:6). He can bring life and refreshment out of your hard situation. He’s a redeemer, and He loves you.
Your situation may be bad, but God is good. When you don’t know what to do, He does.
The apostle Paul HAD IT BAD. He described his own state as “pressed beyond measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves” (2Corinthians 1:8-9).
That sounds about as desperate as one can get!
Yet Paul saw it as an opportunity, “that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” He turned it around! Instead of embracing the despair, he used it as a cue to turn his sights on the Lord. When you don’t know what to do, you can wallow in self-pity or you can take the cue to depend on God, “which raiseth the dead.” Let’s consider how to depend on God in practical terms.
What happens when you stare at someone? It’s not polite, but you’re fascinated with something about them. Or you’re interested in what they are doing. Depending on God requires deliberation. It’s okay to stare at Him. Be fascinated, and get interested in what He’s doing in spite of the circumstances.
Depending on God “which raiseth the dead” means more than a casual glance upward. It requires the determined attention of a watchman on guard.
In 2Chronicles 20, King Jehoshaphat had his back against a wall. The enemies of Judah were too numerous for him to handle. Jehoshaphat called all of Judah to fast and pray, to seek the Lord. It wasn’t like a suggestion, “Before you go to bed, say a little prayer…” They all came together in a serious commitment to look unto God.
Jehoshaphat prayed and said, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are upon You” (vs.12). The sentence of death had appeared, but they looked to God who raises the dead.
When you don’t know what to do, look unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:1). This may sound too simple, but it’s not. The truth is that we seldom look to the Lord when we are in a bind. We cast a glance now and then, but mostly dwell on the problem. It should be the other way around.
David said, “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net” (Psalm 25:15). “Ever toward the Lord” means a fixed gaze, which requires determination. God will pluck your feet from the net if you focus on Him and quit struggling with the net.
The fact is, we try to do too much on our own. It’s hard to just “let go” because it’s hard to lose any sense of control. But God waits for us to humble ourselves, throw up our hands in submission, and say, “it’s up to you Father!” Peter expressed it like this: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1Peter 5:6).
I used to think this meant that God was pushing us down with His mighty hand, in order that we might be humbled. But it doesn’t say God will humble us. It says, “Humble yourselves.” This means to stop trying to control everything and get still, so God’s mighty hand can lift you out of the net! He might be able to pluck your feet from the net much quicker if you would just rest and quit fighting.
A prophet came to Jehoshaphat and promised victory: “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you” (2Chronicles 20:17). What a word! That ought to encourage anybody.
“But why doesn’t a prophet ever come to me?’ We don’t need a prophet to come to us. The Word has already promised us victory! We just need to believe it. That’s what Jehoshaphat instructed his people: “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (vs.20). They believed, and proved their faith by singing praises as they went forth into battle.
“Standing still” doesn’t mean that you completely shut down. Moses told the Israelites to stand still: “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13-14). But the Lord responded by telling them to GO FORWARD (vs.15).
When you don’t know what to do, you look to the Lord and go forward in faith. Again, Jehoshaphat and his army went forward singing praises. They didn’t just pray. Moses didn’t just pray, either. “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward” (Ex.14:15). Standing still means being at peace and knowing God’s got you covered. Then you can go forward faithfully, in spite of the trouble. Prayer was never meant to be a place of stagnation.
As you move forward, continue to seek the Lord. Don’t stop staring. The Word to Jehoshaphat was “see the salvation of the LORD with you” (2Chron. 20:17). The mistake is to forget God is with us, and stop staring. In the natural, things may continue to look pretty grim. That’s why it’s important to keep focused in the supernatural. It’s important to understand that things are working out in the spiritual realm.
Seeking spiritually means that you live there and not here. In other words, you heart is set upon knowing God as the priority. It is your greatest desire, even more than the desire to see problems solved.
David only desired one thing: “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). His desire fueled his seeking. We seek after what we desire.
David desired to dwell in the house of the Lord all his days (Ps.27:4). We may not be able to ignore everything around us, but where do we dwell? In the problems? In the cares of this world? I’m learning to direct my attention in the spirit. This is the safe place where we have the victory and every spiritual blessing!
And as good as that is, we’ve got it better than David. In the new covenant, it’s not us who dwell in the house of the Lord, but the Lord dwells in us! WE are the house (1Peter 2:5; 1Cor.6:19).
When the trials are pressing in, stop, regather your wits, and let this truth sink in, that “greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world” (1John 4:4).
Keep seeking God and DWELL (live, abide) “in the secret place of the most High” (Ps.91:1). Not in desperation, but in desire. God Himself must become the answer. When you get a spiritual revelation of the goodness of God, you will delight in Him. The problems may not go away, but they will lose their heaviness. Then as you continue in fellowship with God, He will eventually see you through.
He led Jehoshaphat to victory, and He’ll do the same for you. It’s already been settled in Christ Jesus.