The War on Anxiety

You are in a war. Whether you want it or not, it’s happening. Anxiety and fear have declared war on you and your family. Thankfully, we are not fighting this war without weapons. God has given us countless people and stories in the Bible to equip and guide us through this battle.

In 2 Chronicles 20 we learn a war has been declared on Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah. Messengers told him the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites were already on their way and that Jehoshaphat was alarmed by the news. There are great lessons we can learn from Jehoshaphat’s response.

We must seek the Lord

The first part of verse three says the king was afraid, and with good reason. Three mighty armies were marching toward him. But the second half says he “sought the Lord for guidance”. He also gave orders that everyone in Judah observe a fast. 

When the community of Judah gathered, the Spirit of the Lord came upon a man named Jahaziel and this was the message he gave: “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT)

When fear and anxiety invade your life, what is your response? Friends, we must learn to seek the Lord. We combat the lies of fear and anxiety with the truth of God’s word. Spending time reading the Bible, praying and possibly fasting is where we receive guidance and wisdom. 

We are powerless against anxiety.

In verse 12 Jehoshaphat prays, “O Lord, our God, won’t you stop them? 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.” When anxiety attacks your mind and heart, it can be tempting to try to fix it alone. Admitting we are powerless gives God all the control. 

But relinquishing control and admitting you are powerless is easier said than done. I found this to be true a few years ago when my husband battled situational anxiety. I was just certain my encouragement and logic could pull him out of such a dark place. I quickly learned fear doesn’t listen to reason or logic, and my encouragement often fell on deaf ears. In desperation I looked up to heaven and prayed something similar to Jehoshaphat. “God, I can’t do this. But I know you can. Help me trust your plan and timing as you help my husband.”

Prayer and fasting doesn’t stop the war, it changes the outcome. 

The armies did not stop marching after Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah sought the Lord, and the war did not stop when the fast was over. Likewise, anxiety is not going to stop coming just because you prayed and fasted. 

Even though King Jehoshaphat did everything “right”, the armies continued to advance. Verse 16 says, “Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel.” There may be times you seek the Lord, and do all the “right” things. And your anxiety remains the same, or even gets worse. Don’t underestimate the power of the Lord and His work on your behalf.

The morning of the battle the king sent singers ahead of the army.  Verse 22 tells us, “At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.” The enemies killed each other before Judah’s army even got there!

“So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.” 2 Chronicles 20:24

There is so much to love about this story. A humble king willing to admit he is powerless against mighty armies. An entire community coming together to seek the Lord and fast. Singers praising the Lord in front of the army. But my favorite verse in this whole story is verse 30. “So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for the Lord had given him rest on every side.”

Friend, the Lord wants your heart to be at peace. He wants to give you “rest on every side.” If you are battling fear or anxiety, take some time and seek the Lord. My prayer is for you to hear His voice reminding you, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged. The battle isn’t yours, it’s mine.”

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