It was my senior year of college. I was engaged to your dad, planning a wedding, looking for a job and a place to live, oh, and trying to finish up classes.
About a month or so before graduation I was having a bad day, so I called home. My dad answered the phone, and before I knew it, I was crying.
Blubbering is more like it.
“Dad, I don’t know where we’re going to live—we can’t find an apartment. And a job? I don’t even know what I want to DO with my life. B and I just had a huge fight, AND I HAVE AN EXAM IN AN HOUR AND I HAVEN’T EVEN STUDIED!!”
I still wonder how my dad must have reacted on the other end of the phone. He must have truly wondered if I had lost my mind, sniffling and snuffling and bellowing out my problems in the most unrefined of ways.
Yes, I remember college. I remember some really fun times. I remember the great friends that I made. I remember awesome professors.
I also remember the pressure.
Girls, all three of you are in different stages, but you will all experience intense pressure at one time or another, even this year. Academic pressure. Financial pressure. Peer pressure.
How will you handle it?
I recently read the most amazing story in II Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat of Judah was under intense pressure—three armies from surrounding countries had declared war on him at once. It’s kind of long (you should really go read the whole thing for yourselves), but bear with me—it’s important.
1. He knew where his strength came from.
As soon as he heard that not one, not two, but THREE armies had declared war on him, the Bible says, “Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” (v. 3)
Jehoshaphat took the threat seriously, but he also took the Lord seriously, and he responded appropriately. Yes, he was terrified. There’s no doubting that what lay before him was a seemingly insurmountable problem. But rather than sit and cry or run away, he begged the Lord for guidance. And because the threat was especially serious, he fasted and asked everyone around him to fast as well.
When pressure comes, run to the Lord.
2. He prayed.
Jehoshaphat obviously knew the Lord well because his prayer reflects what his heart knew: “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!” (v. 6)
He must have known himself pretty well too, because his prayer goes on to say, “We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (v. 12).
When pressure comes, pour out your heart to God.
3. He trusted.
After Jehoshaphat prayed, he listened to the words of the prophet Jahaziel who told him these important words: “Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (v. 15). Jahaziel also told the people of Judah, “But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. . . . Believe in the Lord your God and you will be able to stand firm” (v. 17 & 20).
Really? Just stand firm? With three armies coming after you?
What happens next is truly amazing. The three armies that had come to invade Judah all turned on each other and began fighting among themselves! Pretty soon they had killed each other, and Judah just stood there watching. Crazy, huh?
When pressure comes, trust God’s word.
4. The result of trusting in God.
So this insane stuff happens. The armies all run around killing each other while Judah stands and watches it happen. And then, after all the armies are dead, Judah rushes down to the battlefield to claim the spoils. But the best result comes in verse 30: “So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.”
The result of trusting in God?
Peace. And rest.
In His faithfulness and goodness, God had delivered His people and had given them peace.
There’s nothing better.
Girls, you will experience pressure in this life. Sometimes the pressure will be more intense than others. But how you handle the pressure reveals a lot about your character.
Will you run to the Lord? Will you pour your heart out to Him? Will you trust His word?
If you do, I guarantee you will ultimately rest in His peace.