WHEN THE BATTLE’S TOO BIG Andy Hollifield 3-27-19
2 Chronicles 20:15 “….Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
At some point in our lives, we all come upon at least one battle that is too big to fight. There always comes one obstacle that is just impossible to get around and one mountain that is just to big for us to move regardless of our faith. Before anyone takes exception to that last statement keep this in mind: although the disciples had been given power and walked with Jesus every day of their lives after he called them, they still ran upon devils that they themselves could not cast out. When Peter asked Jesus why they could not cast them out, Jesus told him because of unbelief but also because “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). In Mark chapter nine, the father of a boy with a deaf and dumb spirit begged Jesus to help his unbelief. There are trials we sometimes face in life that, try as we may, we still find ourselves doubting that God will get us through them. The shame isn’t finding yourself in that position but rather being there and having too much pride to ask God to help your unbelief. I went through a time in my life after being forced to retire because of a doctors incompetence, that I got so depressed I couldn’t really even pray. I would try to pray one minute and just be sobbing the next and feeling sorry for myself because of the position I was in. I was also angry because it was not because of my doing but because of someone else. I was disillusioned because it appeared that I would be losing everything I had spent my life working for before too much longer. When I got to that place, I found that it wasn’t a trust issue, but like that father in Mark 9:24, the Lord was all I had that I could trust in. I was too ashamed to admit to anybody how far down and weak I was. It was then I realized that all I had to count on was the Lord.
I don’t usually talk much in detail about that time in my life because it still makes me ashamed. To be honest, it is probably just pride that makes me feel that way. As Christians, and especially as preachers, we tend to think we are supposed to always be up and always strong for everyone else. The fact is that we are all made of the same dust and when our time comes to leave this world, unless we go in the rapture, we will once again return to dust. In the mean time, how can we help others if we can’t even be honest with ourselves enough to admit where we are at?
I began to think about some people I have ran across recently that are in those times of trial. I have friends worried about the health of a family member, one that has recently been bombarded with extra financial stress due to circumstances beyond their control, and still others that have been through traumatic situations in their lives that they have never gotten over. I have faced things recently in my life that are as hard as anything I have ever faced. For some of us, waiting on the Lord is not our strong suit. Isaiah 40:31 contains promises for those that wait upon the Lord and God always keeps his promises.
All that I have mentioned so far is not new to any of us I am sure. One scripture in particular that I found encouraging is 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat had received word that his enemies are coming against him and he was vastly outnumbered and things were hopeless. In verse 12, Jehoshaphat submitted himself and his nation completely to God. He said to the Lord, We’re not strong enough, there’s not enough of us, and we just don’t know what to do, so we are just looking to you. During that time, all Judah with their wives and families stood before the Lord to see what he would do. When they got to that place of total submission, God heard from heaven and answered them. Verse 17 says, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” Two things took place in the remainder of that chapter. First, they worshipped because they believed God. Everyone bowed down to the Lord worshipping before the battle had even begun. The second thing is they followed God’s instructions exactly. If we submit ourselves to the Lord, we don’t have to wait for the battle to be over before we begin to worship. They were worshipping right in the middle of the same circumstances they were in that made Jehoshaphat pray to begin with.
There are many battles and circumstances in the bible that were just too big to overcome. God gave a promise to cover those times also. Isaiah 43:2 says, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Imagine Gideon with only 300 men with lamps, pitchers, and trumpets going into battle against a Midianite army of thousands. Elijah on Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal outnumbered 450-1. David armed with only a slingshot and a staff and rod and five stones crossed the field that day to face the giant Goliath. The woman in the funeral procession of her son when Jesus touched the bier and the boy believed again. Moses, with charge over all of the Israelites, looking over their shoulder as Pharoah’s army pursued them. The disciples on the boat they couldn’t control in a night storm on Galilee. Nehemiah with a burden to rebuild Jerusalem. All of these were impossible situations without the Lord to get them through them.
You may be walking in that place right now in your life. Maybe you are walking in a deep dark valley where the shadows are looming large. Just remember, shadows can’t hurt you. We often say that we are doing ok under the circumstances. Where did God ever tell us to live UNDER our circumstances? Just remember; when you get to that place when the battle’s too big: it’s not your battle anyway and besides that; we have a God that is bigger than our battles. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!