“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

O our God…we have no power to face this this vast army that is attacking us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
2 Chronicles 20:12 (NIV version)

The words quoted above are from a story in the Old Testament about King Jehoshaphat, then king of Judah.  He is facing, as he says, a vast array of hostile forces who are threatening the nation.  In response, the alarmed king, “… resolved to inquire if the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.  The people came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.” (verses 3-4). 

The king leads the people in entreating God, ending his public prayer with the words above: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

What a wise king!  The remainder of the chapter tells the rest of the story of God’s response to these entreaties, a response that reveals God’s goodness and sovereignty, as He rescues his beloved people.

Jehoshaphat’s prayer seems particularly apt in our current situation.  Worldwide, the Covid virus is killing vast numbers and destroying peoples’ livelihoods.  The political situation in this country and in many others around the world is rocky and insecure to say the least.  Racial, ethnic and religious conflicts are rampant around the world, including the repression and even the extermination of various ethnic and religious groups.  Floods, fires, and other weather events are wiping out whole neighborhoods in the US.  In other areas of the world, climate change and weather events are decimating crops, leading to terrible  starvation.  Whole populations are becoming migrants because of famine, war and ethnic cleansing.

Indeed, “we do not know what to do”!

“Our eyes are upon you.”  It seems like this is our only lifeline, placing all of our hope not in elections (important as those are), nor in political or religious figures to provide solutions (also  important), but rather in entreating God to intervene as He sees fit,  prayerfully asking Him what my small contribution can be within my small sphere of life, and being obedient to what He shows me to do. 

Sometimes we think: “All I can do is pray about it”, as though that’s not much in the scheme of things.  However, in God’s economy and from his point of view, that’s actually the best thing we can do!  For to pray in a concerted way, even to the point of fasting (not my favorite, but I’m perhaps called to do that sacrificially right now?), is tapping into a vast reservoir, a powerful, unseen “army” that goes ‘way beyond anything that humans can do or even think of.  As Christians, we know there is power that can even resurrect the dead. 

Let’s pray more and fret less. Let’s gather together as we can – even remotely – to entreat God’s mercy. Let’s gossip and criticize less and intercede more, being willing instead to “bear one another’s burdens” in prayer before the throne of God. And let’s trust more and place ourselves in the hands of the Only One with real solutions, our good and wise God who loves us all.