Summary: What do you do when everything seems hopeless and you don't know what to do? The events in the life of Jehoshaphat provide encouragement when we face trials, trouble, and impossible situations.
When Everything Seems Hopeless
Introduction: The story is told of a man named Brian Hice of Provo, Utah, who had a single day that takes the cake. First, his apartment became flooded from a broken pipe in the apartment above his. So, his manager told him to go rent a water vacuum. That's when Brian discovered that he had a flat tire. So, he went inside to phone a friend for help. But because he was standing in water, when he grabbed the phone, he got an electrical shock that threw him to his knees and caused him to rip the phone off the wall. By the time he finally was ready to leave, water damage had swelled his door jamb shut. He had to yell for a neighbor to come and kick the door down. While this was all going on, because Brian left his keys in his car, somebody had stolen it, flat tire and all. However, it was almost out of gas, so he found it a few blocks away. But he still had to push it to a gas station to fill it up. That evening, Brian had to attend a military ceremony at his university. Unfortunately, he injured himself severely when he somehow sat on his bayonet which he had tossed on the front seat of his car. Fortunately, doctors were able to stitch up his wound. However, his four pet canaries were not so lucky. All of them were crushed by falling plaster from the wet apartment ceiling. When he got back from the university, Brian Hice slipped on the wet carpet and injured his back. He said at that point he began to wonder if, "God wanted him dead, but just kept missing." - “When the Odds Are Against You”, Kerux Sermon #62964. Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever asked, “Why me?”. Have you ever thought that no light was ever going to appear at the end of the tunnel that you’re traveling through? If so, 2 Chronicles 20 provides you with encouragement to dependence and reliance on God in the face of insurmountable difficulties.
I. There are times we face foes and adversities which seem to be overpowering and unbeatable. (20:1-3)
A. Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were enjoying a time of relative peace and safety, when as we read in verses 1-3, the king was informed that an overwhelmingly vast, combined army of the Moabites, Ammonites, along with a marauding horde of Bedouins, known as the Meunites, were marching against Judah seeking to overpower and destroy them. The king and the nation felt helpless in the face of this seemingly hopeless situation.
B. Understand, every one of us all will face or is presently facing, overwhelming difficulties in life. Listen, it’s not a question of “if”, but “when”. At some point, everyone will be confronted with struggles, grief, pain, broken relationships, sin, or persecution. Some of these may seem to be not much more than minor aggravations or disruptions, but others come at us with such ferocity and intensity that we wonder how we will ever survive the trial.
C. The universality of trouble is seen in Matthew 5:45 where we read “...He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
D. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation (trial or testing) has overtaken you except such as is common to man...”
E. Trouble comes to both the Christian and to the non-Christian alike. It attacks both the young and the old. Trouble doesn’t discriminate because of age, race, or sex.
F. There are times in our lives where our struggles emerge from areas of life for which we are not morally responsible. Think about the nature of intrusive thoughts – these are unwanted thoughts for which a person is not morally culpable. Think about grief from the loss of loved ones or the loss of health, being victimized by crime or sexual assault, or betrayal by a spouse. Often dreadful things will happen to good people. But we must also recognize that some of life’s dilemmas are because of our choices, irresponsibility, and sin.
G. In the Bible we read of a godly man, named Job, whose life fell to pieces in short order. He is hit with every kind of misfortune; literally losing everything. In 1890, William James, wrote that “a man's Self is the sum total of all that he CAN call his, not only his body and his psychic powers, but his clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his lands and horses, and yacht and bank-account.” For Job, all of these were swept away in a moments time. Raiders stormed his fields; all his cattle were rustled or destroyed; his servants slain, a house collapsed killing his children, and disease caused painful sores to cover his body from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. In short, Job, by the world’s standards, was reduced to nothing. In Job 14:1, Job cries out “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.”