Thursday, May 5, 2011

May 5

The word of God that came to Jehoshaphat seemed almost unbelievable. Israel was to march out to meet the expansive looming enemy and God would fight the battle for them. “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s" (2 Chronicles 20:15).

After hearing this word from God, Jehoshaphat fell on his face before the Lord and as the people of Israel joined him, a few Levites began to rise up in song, their voices ever increasing in strength and volume.

When the time came to march, Jehoshaphat selected those who would praise and sing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever (2 Chronicles 20:21). And as the sound of their thunderous praise resounded in the heavens, the Lord did exactly what he said he would do. “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes…” When the Israelites arrived at the Desert of Tekoa, “…they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.”

In my copy of Streams in the Desert, I have a note by the May 5th devotional, which focuses on a verse from 2 Chronicles. The note simply says, “8 weeks, 3 days, Michelle prays.”

In early 1999, I’d been suffering from Post Traumatic Stress for several months because of a trauma in my life. At one point, I’d almost stopped eating. My sister who had of course been very concerned about me had a dream one night. In it, I came to her and said, “I’ve had a talk with Jesus, and in about eight weeks I’m going to be all right.”

My sister relayed the dream to me, and I looked at my calendar. In about eight weeks from the time she had the dream, I was going to be at a conference associated with a remarkable move of God in this country. I believed with all my heart that God was speaking through the dream.

I kept a countdown calendar, as I looked forward to whatever it was God would do.

To shorten this story, on May 5, eight weeks and three days from the date of the dream, I attended a meeting where a woman named Michelle who had no knowledge of my circumstances, stepped forward and began to pray over me. Her prayer had nothing to do with the trauma I’d suffered, the fears I faced, or the despair that lurked. Her prayer called me forward--forward into my future with God. Forward into new areas of ministry. Forward into hope. And, just like the Levites, I began to praise him in a LOUD voice for all that he was doing and would do. I didn’t feel any different, but I knew in my heart that things were different.

I will always remember the line in the sand God drew that day. Sure enough, time would tell that the worst was already behind me. And all of what was prayed over me came to pass. In fact, the writing I do now is in part due to the prayers offered that day.

So every year, as I read the devotion on May 5, I remember how God rescued me from what was one of the fiercest battles of my life. And just like Jehoshaphat and the children of Israel, he fought the battle for me.

I remember the battle is won in praise.

“Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.”

If you’re facing a battle today, you might take the time to read all of 2 Chronicles 20. I believe you’ll find powerful encouragement and instruction.

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