Have you ever imagined what you would do in a difficult situation? Or have you made up scenarios of what you would say? You know,kind of like a test run? I don’t know about you but I like to be prepared! I was never a fan of pop quizzes! Tell me in plenty of time so I can study please! If there was a formula for something even better! So when trouble and affliction came knocking at our door 3 yrs ago I was ill equipped! There were multiple trials going on, not just one and I had not trained for any of them!
How do you train for betrayal and cancer and watching the people you love suffer? There was no game book, no manual for me to follow. I was at the mercy of God. In the midst of praying and crying out to God continually I found myself imagining different scenarios and outcomes and how I would handle those. I was desperately trying to get a grip. But in all of the grasping peace was elusive.
It was only in the moments of disciplining my mind to count that I found a measure of peace. I wasn’t counting my strengths or areas of expertise I had, that would help me overcome. I was counting God’s faithfulness to me. I was leaned in, edge of my seat, watching for some sign of his presence! Ah! There it was;
1. the flash of a cardinal’s wing, 2. the evening breeze kissing my face, 3.my child’s prayers at bedtime.
I would slip between the covers at night and pray myself to sleep. I beseeched my God with words and tears, night and day and I would wake again to repeat.
I don’t know why it is that I do this same dance, two steps forward and then one back. I praise him, and give thanks for his goodness and then I grasp again, my fingers outstretched to catch the hem of his garment. Please Lord, please! Answer me now the way I want, or I will work and figure and worry and fret and count my own strengths, or talents and hold them up to measure against the enemy. But they are never enough, never, and I am not enough to overcome him…. but you are and so I’m back again.
I’m counting my gifts the ones I see now, the ones you gave yesterday and I am trusting you to pour out more of the very best things you have for me in your time!
I think David knew my pain.
In 2 Samuel 24 it says,
“The King said to Joab, the commander of his army,’Go through all the tribes of Israel and register the troops so I can know their number.’
Joab replied to the king,”May the Lord your God multiply the troops a hundred times more than they are- while my lord the king looks on! But why does my lord the king want to do this?” Yet, the kings order prevailed.
When they had gone through the whole land after 9 months and 20 days, Joab gave the king the total. There were 800.000 valiant armed men from Israel and 500,000 men from Judah.
David’s conscience troubled him after this census. He said to the Lord, ” I have sinned greatly in what I have done.”
You see David was not a newbie at this life with God! His fight with Goliath was many years ago and with God’s help he had conquered the enemy many times over. He had seen his God deliver, rescue and forgive. He had seen God’s blessing on his life again and again. Yet, for some reason he felt the need to count the men at his disposal. He wanted to know the number he had. If he was anything like us, that could only lead to comparing his armies to others and questioning in his mind who would prevail. His thoughts no longer on His God and how he would provide, deliver and be faithful, but once again on himself and his own men.
Wasn’t this the same man that as a youth took on Goliath the giant, when no amount of experienced soldiers had the courage to fight him? Then, all it took for David, was hearing his God mocked one time, before he rose up, not in his own strength but in his God’s. He shouted at Goliath “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty
His eyes were not focused on Goliath and his obvious size and strength, they weren’t even on his armor and how protective it was because he wore none! They were focused on his God.
Here is what I know, too often I have “Goliath Syndrome,” When trials come knocking on my door instead of “Lifting Up My Eyes” to focus on my God. I focus on Goliath. I count my soldiers, and my strengths or too often I examine my weaknesses, I maneuver this way and that way in my heart desperately trying figure it out myself and all I get is weary and worn out.
Beloved, It took Joab 9 months and 20 days to come and tell the king what he already knew, if he would have fixed his eyes on it. No, not the number of soldiers that fought on his behalf, but rather that God alone held his future! It mattered not the number of soldiers or the size of his enemies armies or even David’s skill in battle. The Lord wanted David to trust Him.
I’m ready to stop counting soldiers. Are you?
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