Really, what can I do? I’m just a sixty-year-old white woman feeling inadequate to change anything in our world. My emotions these past months have ranged from extreme sadness to anger to utter hopelessness.
What can I do? I’m a fixer. I may have written a Bible study, co-authored a book, traveled the world on mission trips, and led ministries; yet first and foremost, I am a wife, mom, and Nonna.
Most of my life has been dedicated to helping those I love solve problems. Whether it’s a broken toy, a skinned knee, a paper to write, a relationship that needs mending, a meal to fill an empty stomach, or a shoulder to cry on, my primary job in life has been to solve problems.
For the past months, I’ve watched as life has been canceled, or at best greatly altered, for myself, my husband, my adult children, and my grandchildren. I’ve shed tears over racial injustice, murders, name calling, and finger pointing. I’ve worn a mask and not worn a mask. I’ve washed my hands until they are raw.
I’ve checked on friends. I’ve texted and called black sisters. Some want to talk; others are choosing silence right now, which I totally understand.
My husband and I were mentored in college by a black couple. When my husband hired the first black man on staff at a predominantly white church in the Atlanta area, we received death threats. That was almost twenty-five years ago.
I’m tired. I can’t even begin to imagine how tired, discouraged, and hopeless some of my black sisters may feel. Yet, I want to do something!
Reading through 2 Chronicles 20, the Lord spoke to me.
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, was facing three enemies: the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites. The primary goal of these three enemies was to destroy God’s people, to stop the advance of the almighty God’s kingdom and the coming of the Messiah.
Who is the enemy right now? Who or what is attempting to destroy the people of God?
A plague, racism, anger, apathy, violence, division, gossip, depression, a spirit of hopelessness …
How did King Jehoshaphat defeat Judah’s enemies?
To begin with, the king called for a fast in all of Judah. Next, he asked ALL of Judah to come together to seek God’s help.
Jehoshaphat then prayed out loud, reminding the people of who God is and all He had done for His people. One of God’s prophets then proclaimed the Lord’s words:
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NIV).
In response to fasting, prayer, and the word of the Lord being declared, Jehoshaphat and ALL the people bowed with their faces to the ground and worshiped before the Lord. A posture of humility enables the Lord to do His work.
Then the worship leaders stood up and began praising the Lord, declaring, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever” (v. 21).
What did God do in response to the above? As they began to sing and worship, the Lord set ambushes and defeated their enemies. The three different enemies actually became confused and began to turn on each other.
God didn’t defeat the enemy with yelling, screaming, name calling, or apathy. He defeated the enemy when God’s people sang His praises and declared His unchanging love.
So what am I to do?
- Fast. Choose to do without something—food, social media, anything that will force you to take more time to focus on the Lord. We are facing enemies that are insurmountable apart from God intervening. What is it worth to you to see a movement of God in our day?
- Gather together with ALL God’s people to worship. Maybe it is six feet apart. Maybe it’s with a mask. But I must worship with other believers.Do you know “all” of God’s people? Do you have a friend who has a different color of skin than yours, or a different political party than yours, or a different economic level than yours?Make a new friend. Remember, the battle to advance God’s kingdom was won with all the people coming together. Invite someone into your home (even if you sit outside six feet apart) who is different than you.We can come together without agreeing on everything. We can listen to someone’s painful story without being right or insisting we know how to solve the problem. My husband, John Avant, has a favorite saying: “Win a person, not an argument.”
- Pray out loud. Declare who God is and what He has done in your life.
- Listen to the Word being read out loud and proclaimed. Believe it. Live it! Ask yourself, Am I serving others, being kind to others, and laying down my life for others? When Jesus returns, He is not going to ask us if we won an argument or an election.
- Humble myself before the Lord. When is the last time you actually bowed on the floor before the Lord God Almighty? As long as I think I’m not a part of the problem, or that the problem is not mine, I am not humbling myself before the Lord.
- Stand up and sing His praises, giving thanks for who He is and declaring that His love endures forever.
What will happen?
God chose to defeat the enemies of Judah because His kingdom needed to advance—the Messiah would eventually come from Judah.
God is determined for His kingdom to advance, for His name to be known, for others to come to know Him.
Only God can fix a human heart, but His desire is for us to join Him in His kingdom advancement.
I, for one, want to be a part of setting that ambush of praise.
Will you join me?