by MW Cook

So you’re on the road of life. Cruising down the street and trying not to hit any potholes. Of course, troubles always come. And when they do it sucks. Especially when the troubles are complicated and look completely hopeless. It’s funny how often hopeless-looking things seem to pop up into our lives, eh?

So what do we do when those hopeless-looking situations arise? When that relationship goes totally sour. Or when we see a massive conflict that we can’t avoid coming our way? Or when we can’t make ends meet or achieve important goals? Then what?

Jehoshaphat had a nasty problem one day. He didn’t have a little relationship problem. Rather, the Moabites, Ammonites and a bunch of Meunites decided it was a good time to get him. A bunch of guys came to Jehoshaphat and told him, “A great multitude is coming from Edom and, check it out, they’re in Engedi already!” That was only twenty miles from Jehoshaphat’s doorstep. The next verse reads: “The Jehoshaphat was afraid.” What an understatement. Hopeless? Unless you’re playing a video game that offers super magic powers, yep, it’s hopeless. That was the first thing that our buddy had to realize. Absolutely, positively, without a single doubt in the world hopeless. The enemy was at the gate and the enemy looked like a swarm of ants. Except really big ants with horses and nasty swords. Jehoshaphat was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it. He couldn’t negotiate. He couldn’t fight with any hope of victory. He couldn’t think of any possible way to avoid this problem. So what does he do? He falls face down on the ground and tells God what he already knows.

I imagine Jehoshaphat was in tears at this point. I don’t know why, but I just bet he was. We all get that way when we are in the depths of hopelessness. Jehoshaphat prays the standard prayer of a man in darkness, but he ends it in a way that blew my mind and encouraged me a lot.

O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? 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.

Will you not execute judgment on them? Will God? Who knows? Maybe not. All Jehoshaphat knew was that it was hopeless and he told God the truth that he was powerless. And then he said it. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

So we walk through the world, trying hard not to get too screwed up. Using all of our will and might and wit to avoid the situations we can’t get out of, but we get in them anyway. So what should we do? We fall down. We look and see the utter hopelessness of the situation we are in. It’s folly to look to ourselves for strength. Absolute, stupid, idiotic folly. I want to scream when I hear people telling folks to believe in themselves or follow their hearts. Newsflash: Your heart wants you dead and you are impotent. Never, never, never look for strength in yourself. Never, never, never follow your heart. I’m not trying to depress you. I’m trying to save you because if you rely on yourself and follow your heart you will never succeed and you will never find a way out of a hopeless situation. That’s why it feels hopeless. There’s still one or two parts in your soul that have the wisdom to scream that feeling through your system, hoping that you will do what Jehoshaphat did. Fall down. Say it’s hopeless. Say, “God! I don’t know what the crap to do! But I’ll look to you. I’ll try to find you. I’ll wait for you to do whatever it is you’re doing. That’ll be enough.”

Then what? Read 2 Chronicles 20:13-23