Stephanie Ehmke, MA, LPC
Overwhelmed Yet Trusting
“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
2 Chronicles 20:12 (NIV)
Have you ever been in a place of feeling completely overwhelmed? You know, the place where the troubles of this life come at you so hard and fast that you almost become paralyzed because you don’t know what to do? Yeah, you know the place. I do too.
Take heart, because Scripture speaks to this place and offers hope!
I think the default solution for most Christ-followers when life gets overwhelming is to try and fix things. We may pray, asking for God’s help, but the overarching plan is still for us to try and come up with a solution. Because we are already overwhelmed, this searching for a solution quickly turns into grasping for something, anything, causing more harm than good. Sound familiar?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to do our part in navigating a struggle. However, we also need to be willing to let God do his part.
One of my mentors years ago would speak to this very thing saying, “God can move mountains, but you’d better bring your shovel!”
A willingness to do the hard work when God shows us what to do is commendable. The problem is, most of us fail to wait for that critical point when he shows us what our part is and what is his. Impatience sets in because we feel like we’re not doing anything and we rush ahead, usually causing more chaos.
But what if waiting is doing something? What if waiting is actually taking our trust in God and making it tangible?
In 2 Chronicles 20, a vast army is coming against Judah and to put it simply, they didn’t know what to do. The situation was desperate; either God showed up and helped or they would be annihilated. Humanness in this situation would dictate gathering your strongest warriors and preparing for battle, yet King Jehoshaphat knew that would not be enough to ensure their survival. So what did Judah to do?
The King humbled himself before the Lord and in the courtyard in front of everyone he prayed, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:12, NIV).
The prayer, however, is not what strikes me. It is powerful. In fact, I would admit that I’ve probably prayed something very similar at distressing times in my own story. What strikes me in such a profound way is what the people of Judah did after the prayer.
Scripture says, “All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood before the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:13, NIV).
Think about this, don’t just gloss over it; let it sink down deep into your thoughts. These men of Judah trusted that God heard the King’s prayer. So much so, that they brought their entire families, even their little ones, to stand and wait for the Lord to answer.
This, my friend, is what trust looks like! It is bringing all of who we are before the Lord and proclaiming that we believe he has heard our cry for help by doing nothing but waiting.
It is contrary to what our world says we should do, but it is in these seasons that we learn to trust God by exercising what I call “active waiting.”
J. Danson Smith wrote it best by saying…
Waiting! Yes, patiently waiting! Till next steps made plain will be; To hear; with the inner hearing, The Voice that will call for me.
Waiting! Yes, hopefully waiting! With hope that need not grow dim; The Master is pledged to guide me, And my eyes are unto Him.
Waiting! Expectantly waiting! Perhaps it may be today The Master will quickly open The gate to my future way.
Waiting! Yes, waiting! Still waiting! I know, though I’ve waited long, That, while He withholds His purpose, His waiting cannot be wrong.
Waiting! Yes, waiting! Still waiting! The Master will not be late: Since He knows that I am waiting For Him to unlatch the gate.
Trusting God is directly tied to our capacity to wait on him. So, may we all learn to trust him more by asking for his help and then choosing to actively wait – patiently, hopefully, expectantly.
For Your Reflection…
Waiting is difficult, but even more so when we feel overwhelmed and desperately in need of an answer. In what ways can you begin to “actively wait” in your circumstance?