“…Yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…” (2 Chronicles 16:8-9 KJV)
This scripture deals with Asa, king of Judah. By the time of his reign, the majority of Israel’s twelve tribes had broken away from Judah and existed as two separate kingdoms. The two kingdoms warred against each other intermittently and Israel laid siege to Judah with the backing of the king of Syria. King Asa sent tribute to Syria, bribing them to turn against Israel and fight on Judah’s behalf instead. The plan worked. Syria attacked the towns of Israel, causing them to abandon the siege to deal with their former ally and newest threat. Judah was saved but at what expense? God delivered Judah before when Asa cried out for help – he would have done it again. The prophet told King Asa that he erred in looking elsewhere for help, instead of to God. In trying to handle the situation in his own power, Asa brought lasting trouble upon his own head.
There are several versions of this scripture, I feel, having two subtly different meanings – one, using the example in the NIV, implies that God will give us strength and back us up in our endeavors. But the King James Version is my favorite, for it implies that God, himself, is waiting for an occasion to BE my strength, to rescue me from whatever calamity. It lets me know I can look to God for help; indeed, he is at the ready, searching for the very opportunity to be my Superman. He’s looking for an excuse – he wants to rescue me.
Sometimes, like King Asa, instead of looking to God, I try to work things out for myself. My mind works overtime, stimulated by some crisis, trying to figure out a solution to my problem, looking for help. In spite of how God has proven himself to me, I still try to do things in my own strength. I devise all kinds of plans to get myself out of the situations I sometimes find myself in. Most times, they actually work so I don’t feel the need to go to God. As long as I feel like I can handle it, I don’t ask. Sometimes, I even fool myself into believing I still have matters under control. But control is an illusion; I am increasingly convinced of this.
This life is not always easy to live. I might make it look easy, LOL – but it’s not. It’s always God at work in me, helping me, leading me. I know this. But I’ve actually deluded myself, at times, into thinking that I’ve done it alone. I said to my daughter once, “When I’m old, I don’t want you to take care of me.” I stubbornly insisted I didn’t need help – not her, not anyone – I am dependent on no one. But I knew it for a lie no sooner than it left my lips. I do nothing without help. Even when I don’t ask, I get plenty. No man is an island. Still, I’ve spent the greater part of my life in denial, always trying to work things out for myself, never ceding control.
When my son was in kindergarten, he had a really nice teacher. We, his dad and I, thought she was the greatest. But one thing nagged me – she didn’t meet him at his level. I’d spent a lot of time and energy preparing him for school. I wanted him to excel and be among the top in his class. I was preparing him for college, for goodness’ sake! But for her, there was no top. All of the children were taught at the same level, regardless of their ability. That was frustrating for me, as a parent.
The following year, we registered my daughter in kindergarten. Despite the previous year’s experience, we wanted her to have the same teacher. I’d resigned myself to kindergarten reality and figured at least, we knew who we were dealing with. But a funny thing happened – my daughter was put with a different teacher. As it turned out, this teacher was actually a better fit for all of us. She had a system in place that allowed her to teach each child at their level. My daughter was allowed and encouraged to excel. And her teacher was nominated for the Golden Apple Award, which I felt she truly deserved. Had I pushed and insisted on controlling that situation by putting my daughter with my son’s teacher, I would have cheated myself. I learned that I don’t always have to control the situation to get what I want or need. I can trust God for a favorable outcome.
A friend recently confided in me that she was in a really difficult place in her life right now. Her life is out of her control. She keeps coming up against road block after road block. She was depressed and entertaining thoughts of suicide. I understand. I’ve been there myself. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everybody’s life is in shambles at one time or another – truly. The good news is that our troubles are not extraordinary troubles. They are common, or normal – just “life” happening.
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
Summed up in four simple words – you can do it. You can make it. You can take it. When people say this to me, I am comforted and infused with confidence. When God says it, I am imbued with power and purpose because He is expressing confidence in me and what he has put in me. I used to doubt my ability to handle my problems but now, I just roll with it because God says I can deal. I am confident that He will not let us be so overwhelmed that it destroys us.
My daughter will go her senior on prom in little over a week. She graduates soon thereafter. This summer I will be busy getting her ready for college, as I did with my son last year. With all the preparations and subsequent celebrations, I imagine “life” will happen quite a bit. I am already overwhelmed by all that I have to do. I’m sure I will be tempted to try and work things out for myself. But today I remind myself that even when events may seem out of my control, He is still in control. I know he is just looking for an opportunity, so I will trust him to rescue me.