The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth
in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.
2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT
Sometimes I find myself challenged more by the calm drizzle than the storm.
In the calm, things are calm or – at worst – manageable. A plan can be mapped out. Ideas can be fully developed and researched. Control can be grasped! It takes a conscious effort to stop for prayer when I can just as easily say “I got this. God, you can just stay sitting. I won’t be needing you on this one.” Why would I surrender in the calm? In contrast, the storm removes all hope for control. It’s powerful and unpredictable; storms don’t care if your the good guy or the bad guy – it doesn’t even have the ability to care. You can’t reason with a storm. In light of all that, surrender seems like a much easier option, if not the only option.
But I know that I am called to live a much fuller existence than that. I want to live each moment surrendered to God’s will, able to freely move between calm AND storm acknowledging His control in both. What’s the trick to accomplishing that, when I live in a society that offers me dozens of free apps to control every element in my calm?!
In 2 Chronicles 16, King Asa’s story continues. God had blessed his reign with peace in his territory because he remained fully committed to God. Eventually, in his 36th year as king, a scuffle arose. It must not have appeared to be a BIG storm because Asa responds by taking control of the situation in a completely different way than I read about last week.
King Baasha of Israel invaded Judah and fortified Ramah in order to prevent anyone from entering or leaving King Asa’s territory in Judah. Asa responded by taking the silver and gold from the treasuries of the LORD’s Temple and from the royal palace. He sent it to King Ben-hadad of Aram, who was ruling in Damascus, along with this message: ‘Let us renew the treaty that existed between your father and my father. See, I am sending you a gift of silver and gold. Break your treaty with King Baasha of Israel so that he will leave me alone.’ (2 Chronicles 16:1-3)
No consultation with God. No prayers. Asa sees a problem and moves forward with his human resources to squelch it. That is totally what I catch myself doing ALL THE TIME! I grab ahold of the reigns and I extend my arm, palm flat out, at God to let him know he can sit this one out. I’ve got it. But Asa didn’t have it and I don’t “got it” either. There are so many things that God can see from his infinite perspective that Asa and I don’t take into account. For example, Asa didn’t stop to consider who he was making allies with; would this be an investment that could be destructive in the future? Likewise, when I commit myself to a “safe” course of action, do I stop to consider that “safe” is only relative to the information I have before me?
God confronted Asa through the seer Hanani a short while later and shared with him the gravity of his choice:
“Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead o fin the LORD your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and horsemen? At that time you relied on the LORD, and he handed them all over to you. The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on, you will be at war.”
Wow. I can honestly say that those words melt away any residual stubbornness I have about the “I got this” mindset. From now on, calm OR storm, my mindset will be “I God this.”
Dear Lord, I am so sorry for all the times I place you as second in command. I don’t “got this.” I need your help in all my ways; please renew in me a persistence to seek you in calm, drizzle and tornado moments. Amen.
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/fornal/363665579/”>Bob.Fornal</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>