In just a few short months, there will be seniors all over getting their diploma… both high school and college graduates. And then, they’ll embark on a new journey of going to college, getting a job, entering the “real world”, becoming an adult.
I have a sister who graduated from college this past May, and one who will be graduating from high school this coming May.
I remember my own senior year of high school. The constant question of “what are you going to do after you graduate?” The constant not knowing what I was going to do. The mix of excitement and fear for this new chapter. And always that nagging, what am I supposed to do?
From deciding what to do after graduation, to what the best way to handle a certain situation or relationship is, to how to manage time and priorities, we can wonder, what am I supposed to do?
These situations can feel like a battle. These situations are a battle. For in them, Satan is battling for our time, energy and attention… battling to keep us confused… battling to keep us scared of the unknown… battling to cause us to make our decisions based on his lies and deceit, not on God’s truth and will.
In 2 Chronicles 20, we read of a king who also wondered what am I supposed to do? as he faced a real battle. King Jehoshaphat received word that the armies of three nations came to make war on his land. With this impending war breathing down his neck, Jehoshaphat didn’t turn to generals or warriors. Instead he “resolved to inquire of the Lord” (v. 3) and to “seek help from the Lord.” (v. 4)
When we have decision to make, when we have a situation or relationship to navigate through, when we need direction, asking the Lord for guidance and help should be our first move. James 1:5 instructs us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him.” And in Matthew 7:7, we are promised, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
It’s good to seek godly wisdom from friends and those who have walked this journey before us. But seeking the Lord should be first, and we should ask others to seek with us. When Jehoshaphat called for help from others, he asked them to fast and pray with him. (v. 3-4)
In his praying, Jehoshaphat concluded with the words, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (v. 12) Only in focusing on Jesus will we be able to walk where He leads; will we be able to know the direction He would have us go.
After Jehoshaphat and the people had prayed, God responded. He said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged… for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (v. 15) And He then gave instructions for what was to be done, ending again with the words, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged… the Lord will be with you.” (v. 17)
God speaks these same words to each of us. Do not be discouraged when you are confused and unsure. Do not be afraid of the unknown and the enemy and what might happen. For the battle is God’s. He has overcome. He has made us victorious. And He will be with us through it all. As Jesus says in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
In response to God’s answer, “Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people fell down in worship before the Lord… and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.” (vv. 18-19) And then they obeyed the Lord’s instruction. They went to battle against the invading armies, being led by men who were appointed to “sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of His holiness.” (v. 21) As they went out at the head of the army, marching into battle and danger, facing death, they said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.” (v. 21) And in obeying God, they were victorious in battle.
As we go into each situation, whether good or bad, whether we know what steps to take or we are still waiting for direction from God, let us praise Him. Let us obey Him when He leads. Let us enter the battle with thanksgiving on our lips. For even when we are unsure of what to do, of the next step to take, of what our decision should be, we can be assured of the Lord’s enduring love for us, and it is only through Him who loves us that we are more than conquerers.