I love to hear a good story unfold. You know, the kind that has twists and turns of intense challenge, confounding waits, or overwhelming odds with phrases like,
“She did not realize that during those two years…”
“That experience was the quiet catalyst for…”
“If that had not happened, she would have…”
And then near the end, the storyteller offers at least one good or benefit that took shape unseen until its moment to amaze. That’s where I say, “What a story!”
Some Old Testament stories are like this. The circumstances are daunting, often cover multiple years, and impact generations. Yet, God sovereignly reigns through it all and works within peoples’ hearts. A while back I studied 1 and 2 Chronicles in the Old Testament, and one word in a story held my focus:
In 2 Chronicles, Chapter 20, King Jehoshaphat learns that a tremendous army is coming to attack his kingdom, he “was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD.” He prayed, “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the LORD came…” (20.12–13) (Italics added)
Their fear and helplessness are palpable as they stare into the desperate circumstance. Then there’s a shift. They set their eyes on God.
“Meanwhile” the men, women, children, and moms “with their little ones” worship and pray. They talk to the One who knows the bent of each heart, the condition of every relationship, the impact to ordinary life events in each person’s life, and the purpose of every matter under heaven.
A desperate people choose to become dependent. In their dependence, God grows hope and faith and relationship—with the littlest ones, the children, the women, and the men. The remainder of the story amazes me, as the sovereignty of God is powerfully displayed.
They made the most of the meanwhile and God responded.
We all have “meanwhiles” in life — a circumstance looms large while other parts of our life carry on. I’ve given too many “meanwhiles” to fretting, losing sleep, and over-analyzing.
This pandemic and every other hard thing going on our life is not an interruption to our life. It is a significant segment of our life. These days, as hard as they are, are included among all the others that God has ordained for you and me.
How you and I live out this and every “meanwhile” can welcome and bear testimony to the faithfulness of God and how intimately he yearns for us to participate with him in his larger-than-what-we-can-see plan.
Make the most of every MEANWHILE.
Like Judah, when you don’t know what to do, fix your eyes on Jesus . . . stand before God by yourself, with a friend, or with your family and pray.
Thank you that you are with me right now. Help me turn to you more throughout my day—to unload, to invite you in, to thank you, and to praise you for who you are. Amen.
* For parents ~ The most recent episodes of my podcast Simple Steps provide steps for teaching children to pray. Each is about 10 minutes. It may be just what you or someone you know needs to hear today.