How Can I Face My Challenges?
There are times in life, or maybe even seasons of life when you feel you are on the losing end of things, when you feel the odds are against you.
Maybe you feel that way right now. Maybe you feel like you’re facing impossible challenges and there’s no way out. Like the waves of life are crashing in on you and every time you get your head up for a breath you are hit by another wave.
What can you do when you’re facing insurmountable, overwhelming challenges?
One of the names of God in Hebrew is Jehovah Nissi, which means: The Lord is my banner. “I am the God who leads you to victory.”
One of the great examples of this is in 2 Chronicles 20. Three enemy nations of Israel decided to team up and go to war against Israel at the same time. The king of Israel is facing a triple threat.
You would think this would be a story of defeat and devastation, but by God’s amazing power the odds are beat and the King is brought to victory.
This is a wonderful story that explains God’s protection over the nation of Israel. But God doesn’t put these stories in the Bible just to teach us history lessons. These are principles that God has given us to learn and apply when we’re in a battle of life; when facing your biggest challenges.
For most of us our battles look different. Maybe it’s a financial battle, a relationship battle, or a health battle. But the principle remains that God is the God of victory! He’s the God of the comeback and He’s got a comeback story planned for you to celebrate in His strength and power!
So what can we do to experience victory in our challenges?
Before you do anything else, go directly to God. Go straight to God and say, “God, I am overwhelmed. I need your help. There is nothing you can’t overcome, and victory is only possible by your strength.” Focus on God first, not your problem, and ask for God’s perspective. Your perspective is limited while God’s perspective is unlimited. He can see the beginning and the end. He can see the past, present and future all at once. So to get a better perspective of what the problem really is that seems so overwhelming to you. Take your challenges to God, who knows how to bring victory out of seemingly impossible circumstances, and trust the direction that He leads you.
Too often we see going to God as a last resort rather than as our first response. Going to God is usually something you do way down the line after you’ve tried everything else. People will say, “I guess all we can do now is pray!” as to say they’ve tried all the major things that should work and the last ditch effort is to take the issue before God.
Going to God should be your first plan of action, your strategy for success, not your last resort. If you want God to help you overcome the odds in any area of your life, you have to turn to Him first.
vs. 1-3 “The armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Meunites declared war… The King was afraid, so he decided to ask the Lord what to do.”
The king was fearful, as you’d expect. Which is reasonable when there are three enemy nations teaming up against you. It’s normal to be afraid. The problem isn’t fear, it’s what you do with that fear that becomes a problem. When you’re afraid in a situation, when you feel overwhelmed, do you let that fear destabilize you, depress you, and discourage you? Does it cause you to throw in the towel and say “I give up!” even before the battle starts?
Never let an impossible situation intimidate you when you can rely on God to lead you to victory. Let it motivate you. How?
- Let it motivate you to pray more.
- Let it motivate you to trust more.
- Let it motivate you to depend more on God.
- Let it motivate you to get your priorities right.
- Let it motivate you to turn to God first.
Step 2. Talk To God About Your Situation
There is no problem that is too big or too small for you to pray about.
vs. 5b “The King went and stood before (the nation) and prayed aloud…”
The King gives us an example of the three things to pray when feeling overwhelmed:
1. Remind yourself of who God is
vs. 6 “Are You not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You.”
As you talk to God about the problem, remind yourself that God is bigger than the problem you’re facing. Say, “God, You’re all powerful. Nothing is too hard for You. You rule over all kingdoms and nations. You can accomplish all things.” The king realized that three enemy nations are coming at him so he stops and says, “You’re bigger than all the nations. You are bigger than anything I will ever face.”
2. Remind yourself of what God has done
vs. 7 “Didn’t You drive out those who lived in this land when Your people arrived?”
He’s going all the way back to Moses and Joshua. He’s saying, “Didn’t You give us this land? Didn’t You do the miracles that got us here in the first place?” He recalls the ways that God worked in the past. He’s saying, “I know who You are and I know what You’re capable of accomplishing.”
3. Ask God for help
vs. 12a “O God, won’t You stop them?”
How about a repeat performance? Do it again! Earlier, in v. 9, he mentions the situations God has helped with in the past—tragedies, physical needs, material needs, sickness, famine. He says, “None of this is too hard for You. You’ve helped us in the past, please do it again!”
His prayer is built around three questions:
- “Are You not God?”
God is in charge. He’s big enough to handle anything you face today.
- “Did You not help us in the past?”
God has provided for your greatest need through Jesus! He can do it again today.
- “Will You not do it again?”
God is faithful!
That’s the way you to pray when you need a victory. No matter what the situation is… Remind yourself who God is, of what He’s done, and ask Him to do it again!
Step 3: Trust God To Help You
The third part of vs. 12b “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.”
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever felt like there was a problem in your marriage, your career, or somewhere in your life that you thought was overwhelming? You start the beginning of the week thinking maybe you can handle it but by Wednesday you’re out of gas. By Friday you’re thinking, “I don’t know if I can face another week of this.” Have you ever felt like that?
Trust God to help you. Focus on God instead of your challenges.
One of the easiest mistakes to make in the midst of a challenge is to become overwhelmed focusing on the problem. Instead of looking to God, we look to the problem. If you are sick and tired of living under the circumstances of life then trust God to help you.
“If you look at the world, you will be distressed. If you look within, you will be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you will be at rest.” – Corrie Ten Boom
What are you choosing to focus on in the midst of your trouble? God? Or your problem?
Turn to God first, talk to Him about your problem, and trust Him to help you.
vs. 15b “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid! Do not be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’”
vs. 17a “You won’t need to fight in this battle. Just stand strong in your places, and you will see the Lord save you.”
What does God want you to do if He doesn’t want you to fight in the battle? What are you supposed to do when you’re facing an overwhelming situation?
What do I have to stand strong on?
vs. 20 “Have faith in the Lord your God, and you will stand strong. Have faith in His prophets, and you will succeed.”
You stand on two things:
- the character of God
- the word of God.
Have faith in the Lord—in the character of God, in who He is. And have faith in what His prophets have said—the word of God. Rely on God and God’s word.
When you’re facing an overwhelming battle and the odds are against you, these are the things you need to do:
- Turn to God first.
- Talk to God about the situation.
- Trust God to help you.
So how does the story end?
vs. 21 “The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising Him… This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love endures forever!’”
The King leads them into battle with the praise of who God is on their lips! That’s awesome! They’re going into battle giving thanks for God’s faithfulness to them, praising Him in advance of the victory that they know is His.
vs. 22 “At the moment they began to sing and to praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves, and they destroyed each other!”
vs. 29-30 “When the surrounding kingdoms heard that the Lord Himself had fought against the enemies of Israel, the fear of God came over them. So the kingdom was at peace, for God had given him rest on every side.”
The result of going to God first, talking to Him, and trusting Him is that the battle is won and you get to live in peace.
Wouldn’t you like that to be true in your life? Living in rest and having peace on every side—the family side, the career side, the financial side, the social side, the physical side?
Are you facing a difficult circumstance this week? Do you feel like the odds are against you? Do you have a problem that is overwhelming?
Turn to God. Talk to God. Trust God.